S. Korean soldier shot by poacher during night drill: Police

South Korean police and military launched an investigation after a soldier was allegedly shot by a poacher during training on Friday night in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province.

The 21-year-old corporal surnamed Lee was allegedly hit by an air gun pellet in the collarbone at around 11.20 pm, authorities said. His unit based in Gyeonggi Province was staging a weeklong drill in nearby mountains.

"While Lee and another corporal were engaged in ambush exercises, a sport utility vehicle suddenly approached from about 70 meters down the mountain, turned on the searchlights and fired an air rifle four to five times before disappearing," Yonhap News cited an official at the unit as saying.

Lee remains at the Armed Forces Hospital in Daejeon after having the bullet removed earlier in the day. He is expected to be discharged as early as Sunday, officials said.

Authorities suspect that an unidentified poacher had mistakenly opened fire. They said they are looking into details of the incident using closed circuit television footage and other methods.

The county has recently been designated as one of 10 public hunting zones in the province as part of the local government's efforts to offset a spike in the number of wild animals including boars.

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