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Cheong Wa Dae answers public petition demanding retrial for child rapist Updated: 2017-12-08 07:20:19 KST


In December of 2008, the Cho Doo-soon child rape case shook the entire nation.
An eight-year-old girl was kidnapped by 57-year-old Cho Doo-soon and was raped in a public toilet, causing serious injuries to her internal organs.
But to the surprise of many, Cho's prison term was reduced from 15 years to just twelve years in prison as he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offense.
Nine years have passed since Cho's conviction, but with the number of child sex abuse cases in Korea jumping nearly 35 percent in the past decade, more than 610 thousand people have signed a petition on the presidential office's website opposing Cho's release from prison in three years' time.
On Wednesday, the government gave an official response, saying that though by law, a retrial is not allowed, it would do its best to protect its citizens.

(KOREAN)
"Cho will have to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for 7 years and be under 24 hour watch by the Justice Ministry. He will also be forbidden to visit certain places and districts, especially near the victim."

Lawmakers also stepped in to control such crimes through the constitution.
A Democratic Party lawmaker proposed the so-called "Cho Doo-soon law" earlier this week, hoping to prevent criminals from using alcohol as an excuse for their acts.

(KOREAN)
" The law is about punishing criminals equally, whether they were under the influence of alcohol or not. Drinking is a choice and responsibility should follow."

But, despite the government's efforts, it seems there is still public anxiety about the case.

(KOREAN)
"Even though he will be wearing an electronic ankle bracelet, I think students my age still won't feel safe."

(KOREAN)
"I really don't understand this, and I can never forgive him. I hope strong measures can be adopted to eradicate this kind of situation."

[STANDUP] ed: steve
"There have been increased calls for sexual crimes in Korea to be punished more strongly, with people claiming that Korea is too lenient when compared to other countries."

In the case of the U.S. and England, the sentence for child sex abuse crimes ranges from 25 years to life imprisonment, while in China, offenders could even receive the death sentence.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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