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Brutal rape of 8 year old has nation up in arms

Government Web pages flooded by irate citizens demanding retribution
Oct 02,2009

The rape case of an 8-year-old girl is rattling the nation.

Following the attack by a 57-year-old man, the victim lost 80 percent of her colon and genital organs. The rapist is now in prison, serving a 12-year sentence recently confirmed by the Supreme Court.

When this fact recently came to light, some 400,000 citizens filed a petition asking that the man serve a maximum penalty and financially compensate the damage caused. Even President Lee Myung-bak has entered the fray. The nationwide outrage erupted after a Tuesday current affairs show on KBS-TV featured the girl’s case while dealing with sexual assaults on children.

Shocked by the savagery of a crime that had not been disclosed before, citizens posted details of the assault across cyberspace. They even posted the offender’s name, photos and address, though those have yet to be verified. In a single day, more than 200,000 signed the petition on the portal Daum seeking harsher punishment against the offender.

This is what can be printed publicly:

On the morning of last Dec. 11, police say Cho Du-sun kidnapped 8-year-old Na-young, who was on her way to school in Ansan, a city southwest of Seoul. He took her to a toilet in a nearby church, strangled and beat her unconscious, then raped her. He also tortured the girl in other ways, according to police and prosecutors. Na Yong-min, a detective who was working at the Ansan Danwon Police Station, said his female colleagues cried when they heard the details.

Following the attack, Na-young underwent eight hours of surgery. But it was too late. Many of her lower organs are completely dysfunctional.

After being notified, police arrested the man. Although prosecutors sought a life sentence, the Ansan branch of the Suwon District Court sentenced him to 12 years. After that, he must wear an electronic anklet for seven years. The court said it took into consideration that Cho was drunk, and thus was “weaker mentally and physically.” Under the Korean law, when an intoxicated person commits a crime, the court can reduce a sentence.

Despite the light sentence, Cho appealed, claiming it was too harsh. A higher court dismissed his request, upholding the initial ruling, and on Sept. 24 the Supreme Court confirmed the decision. Prosecutors and police said Cho persistently denied his crime. “Even though Na-young’s blood was discovered on Cho’s shoes and clothes, he insisted he didn’t remember anything,” said Detective Na. “He was such a bald-faced liar.”

When appearing at the Seoul High Court, Cho dyed his hair and wore spectacles to disguise himself, apparently so that Na-young wouldn’t be able to recognize him, police said.

According to the police, Cho served three years in jail under charge of injury resulting from rape in 1983 and has committed 14 other offenses, which have landed him in jail for another seven years and four months.

The public electronic bulletin boards in the Blue House and the Gender Ministry and Justice Ministry were flooded with thousands of postings by citizens demanding legal change and stricter law enforcement not only for Cho but other child molesters. Many requested he receive the death penalty or life in prison, saying the 12-year prison term was preposterous.

“I have never imagined visiting the Blue House home page and making a Web posting,” said Gang Geum-ja, one of the outraged citizens. “But this time, I had to. Korea should carry out a public death sentence at least on child sexual offenders. Human rights groups should say nothing because when you consider what he’s done, he is not a human.” Park Yoon-soo, a mother of two preschoolers, said she couldn’t sleep for nights after she found about Na-young’s case. “I think Korea’s law enforcement agencies are excessively generous to sexual offenders. Despite years of petitions from the general public, laws haven’t changed. I wonder what’s wrong with this society.”

Although the death penalty is still on the books, it hasn’t been utilized in Korea for 12 years. The government and human rights group have sought to abolish it.

Overwhelmed by the public uproar, President Lee said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that his “heart hurts at the misery.”

“I have even come to think such people [sexual offenders] should be imprisoned for life,” he said, adding he was aware it won’t be easy to raise By Lee Ho-jeong

Government Web pages flooded by irate citizens demanding retribution

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Brutal rape of 8 year old has nation up in arms

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By Seo Ji-eun



The rape case of an 8-year-old girl is rattling the nation.

Following the attack by a 57-year-old man, the victim lost 80 percent of her colon and genital organs. The rapist is now in prison, serving a 12-year sentence recently confirmed by the Supreme Court.

When this fact recently came to light, some 400,000 citizens filed a petition asking that the man serve a maximum penalty and financially compensate the damage caused. Even President Lee Myung-bak has entered the fray. The nationwide outrage erupted after a Tuesday current affairs show on KBS-TV featured the girl’s case while dealing with sexual assaults on children.

Shocked by the savagery of a crime that had not been disclosed before, citizens posted details of the assault across cyberspace. They even posted the offender’s name, photos and address, though those have yet to be verified. In a single day, more than 200,000 signed the petition on the portal Daum seeking harsher punishment against the offender.

This is what can be printed publicly:

On the morning of last Dec. 11, police say Cho Du-sun kidnapped 8-year-old Na-young, who was on her way to school in Ansan, a city southwest of Seoul. He took her to a toilet in a nearby church, strangled and beat her unconscious, then raped her. He also tortured the girl in other ways, according to police and prosecutors. Na Yong-min, a detective who was working at the Ansan Danwon Police Station, said his female colleagues cried when they heard the details.

Following the attack, Na-young underwent eight hours of surgery. But it was too late. Many of her lower organs are completely dysfunctional.

After being notified, police arrested the man. Although prosecutors sought a life sentence, the Ansan branch of the Suwon District Court sentenced him to 12 years. After that, he must wear an electronic anklet for seven years. The court said it took into consideration that Cho was drunk, and thus was “weaker mentally and physically.” Under the Korean law, when an intoxicated person commits a crime, the court can reduce a sentence.

Despite the light sentence, Cho appealed, claiming it was too harsh. A higher court dismissed his request, upholding the initial ruling, and on Sept. 24 the Supreme Court confirmed the decision. Prosecutors and police said Cho persistently denied his crime. “Even though Na-young’s blood was discovered on Cho’s shoes and clothes, he insisted he didn’t remember anything,” said Detective Na. “He was such a bald-faced liar.”

When appearing at the Seoul High Court, Cho dyed his hair and wore spectacles to disguise himself, apparently so that Na-young wouldn’t be able to recognize him, police said.

According to the police, Cho served three years in jail under charge of injury resulting from rape in 1983 and has committed 14 other offenses, which have landed him in jail for another seven years and four months.

The public electronic bulletin boards in the Blue House and the Gender Ministry and Justice Ministry were flooded with thousands of postings by citizens demanding legal change and stricter law enforcement not only for Cho but other child molesters. Many requested he receive the death penalty or life in prison, saying the 12-year prison term was preposterous.

“I have never imagined visiting the Blue House home page and making a Web posting,” said Gang Geum-ja, one of the outraged citizens. “But this time, I had to. Korea should carry out a public death sentence at least on child sexual offenders. Human rights groups should say nothing because when you consider what he’s done, he is not a human.” Park Yoon-soo, a mother of two preschoolers, said she couldn’t sleep for nights after she found about Na-young’s case. “I think Korea’s law enforcement agencies are excessively generous to sexual offenders. Despite years of petitions from the general public, laws haven’t changed. I wonder what’s wrong with this society.”

Although the death penalty is still on the books, it hasn’t been utilized in Korea for 12 years. The government and human rights group have sought to abolish it.

Overwhelmed by the public uproar, President Lee said at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that his “heart hurts at the misery.”

“I have even come to think such people [sexual offenders] should be imprisoned for life,” he said, adding he was aware it won’t be easy to raise



See RAPE, Page 2.

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questions over a ruling that has already been made. On the same day, Justice Minister Lee Kwi-nam ordered law enforcement agencies to “give [Cho] no parole during the 12-year prison term.”

Lawmakers are seeking to revise the law on sexual assault. Ruling Grand National Party floor leader Ahn Sang-soo said yesterday, “While U.S. law can sentence a person to up to 200 years in prison for rape and brutal murders, Korean law only allows a prison term of 15 years at the most.”

To remove the limit, the Clause 42 of the criminal law would have to be deleted. Unless the court gives a life sentence, felons can only receive up to 15 years under the clause. Life sentences are usually reserved for murder.



By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]