Samgakji area of Seoul in 1961, just outside of gate number 1 later on gate 16, was made up of poorer Korean style homes. There were shops and markets like in these pictures.
Because of the Korean War there was severe poverty in Korea, for the lower class. Be adjacent to Yongsan Compound, Samgakji was a Red Light district for prostitution to Military personnel) (Off Limits, that catered to the military population. Korean “Mama Sans” would buy young girls from their family in the countryside bring them to Samgakji keep them in servitude and prostitute them to the young GIs.
The girls would congregate outside gate one and asked GIs to take them to the Castle club, next to the gate. The objective of the girls was to take the GI back to her “home” to make money for the “Mamas an”. The girls did not get to have a meal until they brought a GI back.
There was Marshall Law in Korea, after a Military Junta usurped the powers of President Yun Po Sun. GEN Min (4 Stars) was the leader, until he was overthrown by MG Park in May 1961. The 728th Military Police Battalion, accompanied by Korean National Police patrolled outside the base. There were police raids to apprehend GIs with girls in Samgakji. Many times a GI had to grab their boots and run down a muddy alley to get away from the MPs. There were many unpaved streets and alleys in Samgakji, so during the rainy season they were very muddy.
A personal experience in Feb 1961, I was at Gate One talking to a beautiful Korean girl that I had taken to the Castle Club before. A Korean Police Van pulls up and they start rounding up the girls to take to the police station. A policeman pointed to the girl I was talking to and asked, is this your girlfriend?” I was stupid and said no, she was taken away, if I had said yes they would have left her alone. A week later she was back at gate one and the police had cut off all her beautiful long hair. The police did this to all the girls they hauled in. Each girl was required to carry a medical card, showing that she had a recent check by a doctor and was free of any venereal disease.
When you drove through Samgakji soldiers always wore their watch on their right wrist, because the left arm was used to make turn signals, and if you had a watch on, it would be snatched off your wrist by a “slickly boy”. You also had to have a guard in the back of a truck to protect any items you were carrying.
There was one bridge across the Han River at Youngdongpo. ASCOM City area. The US Army had a repair depot there.