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Hunter kills man, mistaking victim for boar

Nov. 20, 2023 - 17:12 By Moon Ki Hoon
(Herald DB)

A man in his 30s has been shot dead by a hunter who reportedly mistook the victim for a boar, police in Okcheon North Chungcheong Province, confirmed Sunday. The case is the latest gun-related accident to occur in South Korea, despite the country's strict gun control laws.

According to Okcheon Police, a 60-year-old suspect is under investigation for fatally shooting a man who was catching crayfish in a nearby stream. The suspect, a registered hunter, claims to have mistaken the victim for a boar. He faces charges of manslaughter by occupational negligence.

Under the Act on the Control of Firearms, Swords, Explosives, Etc., South Korea maintains stringent gun control measures. Individuals can acquire firearms for specific purposes like sports or hunting, but must gain police approval, including a background check verifying mental soundness and a clean criminal record.

Even with approval, firearms must be stored in a police station safe, with usage restricted to select occasions.

With over 110,000 registered firearms across the country, South Korea recorded 82 gun-related accidents from 2015 to 2020, resulting in 24 deaths, according to the annually published Police Statistical Yearbook.

Hunting-related incidents like this one account for a significant share of South Korea’s gun-related accidents. Accidents frequently involve registered hunters, who are allowed to carry rifles primarily during the winter hunting season. As of July 2020, there were over 36,000 South Koreans with hunting permits, according to police data.

Last year alone, the country saw five hunting accidents, including a notable case in April where a taxi driver was fatally shot on the roadside in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, by a hunter who reportedly similarly mistook him for game. The suspect was sentenced to 16 months in prison in February this year.