Travis King was stationed in South Korea and it was thought he may have tried to flee mistreatment in the army – ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP
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Two officials on Thursday night said that an Army soldier who had fled to North Korea and been returned to the United States last month had been captured by American forces. Charges against the private include abandonment and possessing juvenile-oriented pornographic images.
The eight charges against Pvt. Travis King are listed in a charging sheet that The Associated Press was able to access. The authorities who confirmed King’s incarceration only consented to talk anonymously with The Associated Press because the charges have not been made public.
The accusations include striking and kicking fellow soldiers, lying on official documents, having an illicit alcohol possession permit, and having a child pornographic movie.
A five-year jail sentence is the maximum penalty for desertion.
US media said that the document had no information regarding any of the charges.
Private second-class King was scheduled to return to Texas in July following an intoxicated brawl in a bar and a term in a South Korean jail.
Rather than going to Fort Bliss for disciplinary proceedings, he left the airport in the Seoul area, joined a tour of the Demilitarized Zone, and snuck beyond the heavily guarded border, where he was taken into custody by the authorities of the communist North.
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King had fled to North Korea, according to Pyongyang, to avoid “mistreatment and racial discrimination in the US Army.”
However, North Korea “decided to expel” King in September for trespassing into its territory, following the conclusion of its inquiry.
When King returns to the United States, he will go through a “reintegration program” that includes medical exams and mental health evaluations, according to deputy press Secretary Sabrina Singh.
At the time of King’s border crossing, diplomatic efforts were on hold and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was advocating for the development of more weapons, including tactical nuclear warheads. Relations between the two Koreas were at an all-time low.
Since there was an armistice rather than a treaty to end the 1950–53 War, the two Koreas are still officially at war.