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Smartphones can be ‘dangerous weapons’: court

Seoul Central District Court (Yonhap)
Seoul Central District Court (Yonhap)

A local court ruled Tuesday that using a smartphone to hit and injure others is a criminal offense of assault and punishable as per relevant laws.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced a 25-year-old person to a year in prison, suspended for two years, for hitting a colleague on his face with a smartphone, causing a bone fracture that required five weeks of medical treatment.

The defendant attacked the victim after quarreling during a dinner meeting in February, and was indicted on charges of causing bodily injury.

He argued in court that the act does not constitute a crime because a smartphone is not a “dangerous weapon.”

Article 258-2 of the Criminal Act stipulates that a person who inflicts bodily injury by the threat of collective force or by carrying a dangerous weapon shall be punished by imprisonment for at least one year and up to 10 years.

The judge said that whether an object is a dangerous weapon or not under the criminal law should be determined based on whether using it can make others feel the danger of getting killed or wounded.

“The defendant used the mobile phone to inflict bodily harm on the victim,” the judge said.

“It is a rule of thumb that striking persons with a mobile phone can make them fearful of getting killed or wounded.”

By Kim So-hyun (