Earlier this week, South Korean police made an arrest: a gamer was taken into custody for apparently allowing his two year old infant son to starve to death while spending days playing online games at Internet cafes.
According to AFP News, the 22-year-old man surnamed Chung was arrested Monday after the badly decomposed body of the two-year-old was found in a trash bag near the southeastern city of Daegu, city police said.
Chung had a criminal record, and is currently unemployed. Chung’s wife started working in a factory far from the city in late February, leaving the baby under the care of the husband. However, Chung spent most of his time in Internet cafes, visiting home every two or three days to feed the boy. Police said Chung found the baby dead on March 7 and left the body at home for more than a month, before finally dumping it in a garden a mile away. Police said he initially reported the baby missing, but later confessed to disposing of the body.
A Daegu police detective working on the case told AFP that Chung would likely be charged with homicide and abandoning a body.
Online game addiction is seen as a serious problem in South Korea — one of the world’s most wired nations with a thriving gaming industry. South Korea’s parliament is considering a law that would classify online gaming as potentially antisocial addiction alongside gambling, drugs and alcohol.
The bill has won support from parents, religious groups and doctors but has alarmed the internet industry and enraged gamers. The legislation includes provisions to limit advertising, while a separate bill would take 1% of the gaming industry’s revenue to create a fund to curb addiction.
The government started studying internet game addiction in 2011. Its latest annual study found that 2% of South Koreans aged 10-19, or about 125,000 people, needed treatment for excessive online gaming or were at risk of addiction.
“My parents tried to stop me but I kept playing. Even the government wouldn’t have stopped me,” said Shin Minchul, a 21-year-old college student as he recounted his heavy gaming past.