SEOUL, South Korea — Two U.S. Secret Service employees have been sent back to the U.S. from South Korea and placed on administrative leave after they were allegedly involved in an off-duty incident, the agency said Friday.
"The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations. The individuals will be immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave," said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the agency.
South Korean police told NBC News that a member of President Joe Biden's security unit "engaged in violence" against a local man near the Grand Hyatt Seoul, where Biden is set to stay during his first presidential trip to Asia. The Secret Service has not yet confirmed those details.
“We have launched an investigation involving a member of President Biden’s security team member and a South Korean man,” Choi Eul-chan, director of detective division at Yongsan Police Station, said Friday by phone.
The incident occurred around 4:20 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to South Korean police.
"He pushed the Korean man once. The Korean man made the police report immediately following the incident. He demanded that the security person be punished for assaulting him,” Choi said.
Local authorities have conducted an investigation into "both people" and plan to "follow through the case based on and according to South Korean law," he added.
A law enforcement source familiar with the matter said only one Secret Service employee was investigated by local authorities and that no one was detained, arrested or criminally charged.
The alleged incident, which involved "a variety of people," took place before Biden’s arrival in Seoul, a source familiar with the incident said. Two employees were sent back to Washington Friday afternoon local time, the source added.
Guglielmi said there was "no impact" to Biden's trip to Asia.
"We have very strict protocols and policies for all employees and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. Given this is an active administrative personnel matter, we are not in a position to comment further," he added.
After arriving in South Korea, Biden on Friday met with the country's leader, President Yoon Suk-yeol, and delivered remarks at a Samsung factory in the city of Pyeongtaek. The president will travel to Seoul, the capital, later in the day.