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Chief justice calls for punishment of sex offenders without victims' complaint

Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae said Sunday that a provision of law should be repealed to ensure sex offenders can be punished without the need for a complaint from their victims.

   The provision in the current law stipulates that those suspected of sexual offenses are prosecuted only when victims file formal complaints.

   The loophole could allow sex offenders to get off scot-free as many victims are reluctant to make a complaint because they are afraid of having to confront their assailants and concerned at having to testify about their experiences in court.

   "Personally, I have a clear position that the provision of the law should be abolished," Yang said in a program aired on Sunday by public broadcaster KBS.

   The justice ministry said earlier this month it was considering removing the provision in the current law. The ministry recently requested an outside counsel review the effects of abolishing the provision.

   Yang's comment and the move by the justice ministry come after a number of sex crimes have stunned South Korean society.

   In August, a 23-year-old man allegedly abducted a sleeping 7-year-old girl from her home and brutally raped her in Naju, 350 kilometers south of Seoul.

   South Korea has recently decided to expand the use of chemical castration for sex offenders as part of efforts to root out repeated assaults against women and children. (Yonhap News)