South Koreans Angrily Protest the Release of Brutal Child Rapist From Jail

Cho Doo-soon

Trigger Warning: The content of this article may upset survivors of rape and sexual assault.

An infamous South Korean child rapist reignited national outrage upon his prison release last Saturday.

The incident: Surrounded by protestors, journalists, and officers, Cho Doo-soon, 68, was escorted out of a Seoul prison where hundreds called for his castration, death, and expulsion from Ansan, according to The Straits Times.

  • On Dec. 11, 2008, Cho was convicted for abducting an 8-year-old girl on her way to school in Ansan, violently beating her unconscious, subjecting her to torture and a drowning attempt, and sexually assaulting her in a church bathroom.
  • The girl survived but was left in a fragile state, where the extreme damage to her lower organs had her undergo an 8-hour surgery.
  • The police identified him when the child’s blood was found on his clothing and shoes.
  • The incident rocked the nation when news first broke on the incident and later when he was given only a 12-year sentence.
  • Many believed the sentence was too lenient and was telling of how poorly the nation handled sexual assaults.
  • Since 2017, a million signatures were signed in thousands of petitions condemning his release and calling for change and stronger punishments, the Associated Press reported.

The aftermath: Since then, Ansan residents have dreaded his return, especially the survivor and her family.

  • Her father told local media that she “burst into tears” about his return, saying “It was the first time that happened since she was attacked 12 years ago. We all cried with her.” They plan to move away from the neighborhood.
  • Police ensured that there would be 24-hour patrolling around his house and the neighborhood, random visits to his house, heavy surveillance, swift mobilization if he ever commits a crime, brighter street lamps, his registration as a sex offender, and that he would wear an electronic ankle monitor for seven years, according to the New York Times.
  • But that is still not good enough for netizen students who voiced their fears, as well as parents concerned for the safety of their children.
  • As eggs, swears, and protestors pounded against the car driving Cho away, the Justice Ministry official supervising him said in a debriefing, “While we were moving in the car, he told me he hadn’t expected this. He said he had committed an unpardonable atrocity and he would live in repentance for the rest of his life.”

Featured Image Screenshots via @tntn_9

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