Extra! Korea

September 1, 2009

Convicted of violent crimes? Wait three years, and you can get air rifles or explosives

Filed under: crime, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 12:50 pm

The Korea Times has a article describing how Korea is in danger of losing its well-deserved reputation as a country where one can be quite safe from violent crime. One of the reasons is because of the ease with which people previously convicted of violent crimes can acquire air rifles and other potentially deadly weapons.

On Aug. 22, a 59-year-old barmaid was gunned down at a hotel in southeastern Seoul by her boss, identified by Seo. She was found shot four times and stabbed several times at the scene, police said.

[ snip ]

On the same day, the Paju Police Station in Gyeonggi Province arrested a 62-year-old man, identified as Bang, for shooting his friend with an air rifle in a fit of anger.

Police later found Seo had been convicted three times of violence and Bang convicted five times on similar charges.

Despite the criminal records, current regulations fell short of keeping them away from the dangerous air rifles and other weapons.

Under the current law, those who have been convicted of crimes can buy potentially life-threatening weapons, including air rifles and explosives, three years after they are released.

The current rules are so generous that even those with mental disabilities have no problem in obtaining air guns, experts said.

Police said Seo was previously diagnosed with a mental disorder and had received medical treatment since 2006.

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