The local court is expected to further increase its recommended jail terms for child sex offenders early next year, complying with growing social calls for tougher punishments against violent and inhumane crimes, officials said Sunday.
The measure, if implemented, would follow two similar moves over the past two years and is expected to additionally deter sex crimes against children, said the officials.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to convene its sentencing committee on Monday to discuss revising the rules on how sex crimes against children and the disabled are punished on the basis of public and expert opinions recently collected through public hearings and opinion polls.
According to some informed sources at the top court, recommended prison terms for rapists of children under age 13, for instance, will rise from the current 7-10 years to 8-15 years.
In the criminal code, a separate clause on raising the recommended punishment for sex crimes against the disabled will also be established.
According to a recent study by the state-run Korea Institute of Criminology, there were 16.9 cases of sexual assaults against minors for every 100,000 Korean children in 2008, up 69 percent from 10 reported in 2005. The U.S. showed only a 2.9 percent increase during the same period while such crimes decreased 29 percent in Japan and 14.8 percent in Britain.
A string of brutal sexual assaults against minors in recent years has shocked the nation, prompting the authorities to toughen the punishment for sex offenders.
The government has also revised a criminal law, with approval from the parliament, suspending the statute of limitations for cases involving sexual crimes against children until the victim reaches the age of 20.