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Police get tough on child sex crimes

The police have declared all-out war on sex criminals who victimize children.

In a meeting of high-ranking police officials on Monday, National Police Agency Commissioner General Kang Hee-rak vowed to take advantag all possible measures to eradicate sex offenses against children.

The meeting lasted for an unprecedented six hours, reflecting the sense of urgency within the police organization.

“The prevention of sexual child abuse should be the top priority for all police officials,” said Kang.

Among the reinforced preventive measures is a sex crime mapping system, showing the date and place of all sex offenses since 2004, together with the personal information of the offenders, said officials.

Kim Soo-cheol demonstrates how he kidnapped and raped a schoolgirl in Seoul last month. Yonhap News
Kim Soo-cheol demonstrates how he kidnapped and raped a schoolgirl in Seoul last month. Yonhap News

The NPA has also designated 120 special zones prone to sex crimes, together with 600 security zones, in which police patrol and investigation is to be stepped up.

Police stations will also provide local communities with a regular forecast deducted from past sex offense statistics to warn citizens of possible dangers.

Citizens who report sex abuse attempts against children will also be offered a reward.

“The point is to open our information on sex crimes and the criminals to the local community and request the citizens’ cooperation,” said an official from the NPA.

“A comprehensive surveillance system is required to prevent sex crimes against children.”

The agency will almost hike up the number of officers dealing with sex crimes (officers) from the present 90 to a maximum of 160 and expand the present investigation team into a special independent squad, said officials.

This central squad will step in and support local stations in unsolved or exceptionally violent sex offense cases.

The squad will focus on detecting runaway sex offenders who raped children younger 13, said officials.

The police’s urgent moves followed a series of brutal child rape cases this year, including the case of convicted sex offender Kim Soo-cheol who kidnapped and raped an 8-year-old girl whom he found in a school playground.

Even amid the shock and hurried responses, other bold sex crimes or attempts have continued to occur, indicating the serious level of pedophile crimes in Korean society.

On Sunday, early morning, a man in his 20s broke into a house in Seoul and attempted to rape two girls who were below school age. When he was deterred by their grandmother, he raped her instead before fleeing the scene.

On the same day, a 21-year-old unemployed man approached a 6-year-old girl in a playground in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, and attempted to rape her, despite the presence of her grandmother nearby.

“The new reinforced set of measures will first be applied to sexual child abuse and then gradually be expanded to other felonies against women and children such as kidnapping and blackmailing,” said an official.

Observers, however, point out that despite the police’s past vows to root out sex crimes, there have been no apparent results.

The National Assembly last Tuesday passed a bill on the chemical injection of pedophiles, a revised version of the so-called chemical castration bill.



By Bae Hyun-jung  (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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