Protests Erupt After South Korea’s Most Infamous Rapist is Released from Prison

Protesters holding signs calling for the rapist Cho Doo-soon’s castration trying to block his release from prison on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea. (Credit…Yun Dong-Jin/Yonhap, via Associated Press)

South Korea’s most infamous rapist was released on Saturday after serving 12 years in prison, sparking angry demonstrations and anonymous death threats that led to an increased police presence outside the predator’s home.

Protesters gathered outside a prison in southern Seoul on Saturday, shouting “Send him to hell!” and “Castrate him!,” as the rapist, Cho Doo-soon, was released.

Mr. Cho was arrested in 2008 and later convicted of raping an 8-year-old girl, and his name has since become synonymous with the soft-glove treatment sex offenders are said to receive in the country’s courts.

When Mr. Cho, now 68, was released at dawn on Saturday, people were still enraged.

“What kind of country is this, protecting such a rapist?” protesters shouted as Mr. Cho was driven out in a gray government van under heavy police protection.

Some protesters lay on the pavement, holding signs and shouting slogans, in an attempt to prevent Mr. Cho from leaving. Police officers removed them and built barricades to allow the van carrying Mr. Cho to pass. Protesters kicked at the van and hurled eggs and insults at the vehicle. Anonymous death treats were issued against Mr. Cho online, forcing the authorities to add more police officers and surveillance cameras around his home.

Public anger has surged in recent months as the date of Mr. Cho’s release approached. Last Wednesday, the National Assembly passed a bill, nicknamed the “Cho Doo-soon law,” which banned people convicted of sexually assaulting minors from leaving their homes at night or during hours when students commute to and from school. The law also bans such sex offenders from going near schools.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Choe Sang-Hun

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