This undated file photo shows a poster informing passengers that they cannot board buses without wearing a mask due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)
CHEONGJU -- A local court has sentenced a man to a suspended prison term for assaulting a bus driver who asked him to properly wear his face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cheongju District Court said Sunday the 54-year-old was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service on charges of assault.
The man boarded a bus in Cheongju, some 140 kilometers south of Seoul, on July 15 and was asked by the 37-year-old driver to correctly wear his mask, which was resting on his chin.
The defendant shoved the driver several times, threatened to punch him, and then got off the bus and ran. When the driver went after him, he assaulted him and caused injuries that took two weeks to heal.
"This calls for stern punishment because the nature of the crime is very bad in that (the defendant) assaulted and inflicted injuries on a bus driver simply for asking him to correctly wear his mask," Judge Lee Dong-ho said in his ruling.
Since May, the government has allowed bus and taxi drivers to deny rides to passengers who do not wear masks as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Yonhap)