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Hong says will execute criminals on death row

South Korean presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party said he would revive capital punishment if elected, saying criminals are “going on the rampage.”

“Because we no longer carry out death penalty, high-profile murder cases continue, such as the ones involving (serial killers) Yoo Young-chul and Kang Ho-soon,” Hong said on campaign trail in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on Sunday. 

South Korean presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (Yonhap)
South Korean presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (Yonhap)

Although death sentence continues to be handed down by court, South Korea has not executed criminals since 1997. It is categorized by global rights watchdog Amnesty International as a country that has “virtually abolished” capital punishment.

Nicknamed “Hong Trump” for his controversial remarks and ultra-conservative vision, the candidate is enjoying growing popularity, with polls putting him at third place with support of around 15 percent.

The former state prosecutor and conservative party leader demanded the authorities send jailed former president Park Geun-hye to the hospital, saying she is “said to be in very poor condition” in a detention center.

The former conservative president has been taken into custody since March 31 over a corruption scandal that brought an abrupt end to her five-year presidential term.

Hong’s party was formerly known as the Saenuri Party, founded and named by Park, but rebranded as the Liberty Korea Party since Park’s impeachment.

By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)
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