SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – Over 380,000 signatures have been collected on an online petition in protest against what the South Korean public believes is a ‘far too short’ prison sentence for notorious child rapist Cho Doo-soon.
Reports that Cho – whose horrifying crime was the subject of the feature film “Hope” – is scheduled to be released from prison in three years have prompted a public outcry, attracting the highest number of signatures to date on the Blue House’s official online petition site.
Criticism is mounting against Cho’s sentencing, with some calling for the criminal to face harsher punishment, such as a life sentence.
Cho, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison after kidnapping an eight-year-old girl in Gyeonggi Province and beating and raping her, is expected to be released in December 2020.
The online petition against Cho has collected a record number of signatures, the highest since the Moon administration took office.
It’s one of the only three online petitions filed on the government’s website that gathered over 200,000 signatures, following one for juvenile law reform and another for the decriminalization of abortion.
The Blue House, however, isn’t expected to issue an official response, as the Cho petition failed to meet the official requirement that over 200,000 signatures be collected within 30 days.
The petition against the release of Cho from prison was first filed in early September, and reached 200,000 signatures only this week, more than 60 days later.
However, the general sentiment on social media is highly critical, with many outraged.
One emotional Twitter user lashed out at the news, saying heinous criminals like Cho should not be released from prison ever, and that it was more important to keep children safe.
During an interview with the media, lawmaker Pyo Chang-won said, “The victim and her family are trembling with fear. While Cho will wear an electronic ankle bracelet, we are looking at ways to pass new legislation to restrict where he chooses to live or hire a one-on-one probation officer.”
However, some say Cho deserves a second chance after serving his prison sentence in a correctional institution.
“We need to create a system to stop another case like Cho and provide support to victims. The current probation system entails only one phone call or counseling session a month, and is not very effective,” said Oh Chang-ik, who heads a human rights group.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)