After a 6-year-old girl was sexually assaulted last Thursday, South Korea has been painfully mulling over what is the best solution to put to an end a seemingly endless recurrence of such hideous crimes.
Last week, the school girl was kidnapped by a 22-year-old man while sleeping at her house in Naju, North Jeolla province. The suspect, who was living in her neighborhood and an acquaintance of her mom, violently raped and tried to kill her by strangulation , police said. The girl lived but was severely injured and has been hospitalized since.
In a separate case in Tongnyeong in July, a 10-year-old girl was raped and killed by a neighborhood man on her way to school. Her body was found buried in a nearby mountain a week later.
A society-wide debate from online forums to parliament led to a sensitive topic: whether the country should resume execution of death-row inmates - 60 in all - in a way to discourage serious crimes from happening again. The 60 are convicted in the deaths of 207 people.
On Wednesday, presidential frontrunner Park Geun-hye of the ruling New Frontier Party fanned the flame by saying that the country should keep the capital punishment.
"I think there is a need for the death penalty to continue to exist to warn a criminal convicted of inhumane and unacceptably horrendous crimes that he also could die," she said.
Presidential Frontrunner Endorses Death Penalty
Crime has not been much of an issue in the U.S. presidential race. It is in South Korea, though. Jaeyeon Woo has this post at the WSJ's Korea Real Time blog.