Asia-Pacific

Web-obsessed South Korea father jailed for baby neglect

Internet cafe (generic)
Image caption The couple were said to have spent long hours in internet cafes

A South Korean man whose baby daughter starved to death while he spent much of his time playing a fantasy game online has been jailed for two years.

The 41-year-old's wife was also sentenced to two years in jail, but her sentence was suspended.

The judge said he had shown the woman leniency because she was pregnant with another child.

The couple, identified only by their surname, Kim, were said to be obsessed with the Prius Online game.

In the game, players have to help a young girl called Anima to recover her lost memory and develop emotions.

While they played the game in internet cafes, they fed their three-month-old daughter only once a day and left her alone for hours.

Web addiction

Sentencing the pair, Judge Yu Sang-jae said their "irresponsible behaviour" had led to the baby's death.

"The defendants should have looked after their underweight and premature baby but they got addicted to a computer game, didn't feed her well and they even hit her," he said.

"This is an inhumane and immoral crime that can't be forgiven for any reason."

Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that prosecutors had asked for five-year jail terms for the man and his 25-year-old wife.

But Judge Yu decided to give a lighter sentence because they had expressed remorse and were awaiting the birth of another child.

There are some two million internet addicts in the country, according to the government, which recently announced a series of measures to tackle the problem.

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