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New legislation toughens punishment for perpetrators of fatal child abuse

This Jan. 13, 2021, file photo shows pictures of a 16-month-old toddler, named Jung-in, who died in October allegedly as a result of her adoptive parents' abuse. (Yonhap)
This Jan. 13, 2021, file photo shows pictures of a 16-month-old toddler, named Jung-in, who died in October allegedly as a result of her adoptive parents' abuse. (Yonhap)
The National Assembly has approved a law revision that would step up the punishment for perpetrators of fatal child abuse in the wake of a series of recent deaths of abused children.

The bill to revise the act on child abuse crimes passed a plenary National Assembly session Friday.

The revised law newly codifies the crime of child abuse homicide, stipulating the maximum capital punishment and a minimum seven-year imprisonment for perpetrators.

Before the revision, the worst cases of child abuse resulting in death were judged by the Criminal Act, under which the minimum punishment for homicide perpetrators is five-year imprisonment.

The new bill was prompted by a series of recent fatal child abuse cases that sparked public outrage, including the death of a 16-month-old toddler in October.

The baby named Jung-in allegedly died after being beaten by her adoptive mother, who was charged with child abuse and murder. Her adoptive father was also indicted for abuse and neglect.

At least two more children died this month allegedly as a result of maltreatment by their parents or guardians.

Also on Friday, the assembly approved a revision to the law on tax exemption, allowing temporary tax benefits for landlords who offer discounted rent to tenants gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the revision, those "good" landlords will be given up to a 70 percent discount in income and corporate taxation for six months till the end of 2021, an increase from the current benefit of 50 percent discounts.

Another bill to revise the contagious disease and prevention law was approved in the Friday plenary session, which will order heavier punishments for those who obstruct pandemic-related epidemiological surveys in an organized, systemic manner or disobey pandemic-related quarantine orders, resulting in the infection of others. (Yonhap)

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