SIX Fijian British Army ruggers based in Edinburgh, Scotland have been accused of beating up an off-duty policeman in New York during an early morning brawl over the weekend.
The six, who are from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, allegedly punched the officer to the floor then carried on hitting him as his friend tried to stop them.
According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a court in Manhattan heard that the brawl carried on down the street and left blood splattered along half a block until the officer pulled out a knife and slashed one of his attackers.
The newspaper's online portal reported that the six are part of an Army rugby team on a tour of the US East Coast.
The six claimed that they lashed out when the policeman used abusive words at them.
The soldiers — Private Iliakini Raderua, 30, Corporal Thomas Shute, 34, Private Felite Vunisarati, 34, Private Mosese Kuruala, 27, and Private Joeli Raduva, 34 — are accused of third degree assault.
Lance Corporal Iosefo Yavala, 33, is also accused of second degree robbery, a more serious offence, after he was allegedly found carrying the officer's mobile phone which was taken during the brawl.
It reported that the soldiers, whose regimental motto is 'No One Provokes Me With Impunity', were due to play against a team from the New York Police Department on Wednesday, but are being held in the notorious Rikers Island prison after failing to post bail of $25,000.
They will appear before the court again next week.
According to the Daily Mail, a defence ministry spokesman said all those found to fall short of the Army's high standards would face disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.