KOREA – A Chinese national in his 30s is facing charges under the Child Welfare Act after abandoning his 9-year-old son on Jeju Island.
The incident, which occurred on 25 August in Seogwipo, southern Jeju Island, has sparked outrage and concern.
The father allegedly left his sleeping son in a park with a message written in English that expressed his desire for the child to live in a better facility in Korea.
The message wrote: “I hope that my child will live in a good facility in Korea.”
When the child woke up and realised that his father had disappeared, he cried loudly alone in the park.
Fortunately, when he started searching for his father, a Seogwipo City official discovered him who immediately alerted the police.
The subsequent investigation, which included the analysis of CCTV footage, led to the father’s arrest the following day.
According to the police, the father and son arrived in Jeju on 14 August with tourist visas. They initially stayed in local accommodation for three days but found themselves without money by 17 August, forcing them to sleep outdoors.
The father confessed to the crime, explaining that he could not provide proper care for his son without his wife and hoped that his child could have a better life in Korea.
In the meantime, the 9-year-old boy, who had been under the protection of a child welfare facility on Jeju Island, has been sent to live with his relatives in China, as authorities take steps to ensure his well-being and safety.
Woman fined for abandoning 3-year-old child in Seoul, spared prison and deportation
On Thursday (1 Dec, 2022), a similar crime was committed by a foreign national at Myeong-dong, Seoul.
The Seoul Central District Court has chosen leniency over imprisonment and deportation for a woman who abandoned her 3-year-old child in downtown Seoul back in August 2022.
According to local media reports, the court decided on Thursday to impose a fine of 5 million won (US$3,850) on the foreign national and mandated that she attend a child abuse prevention course.
This verdict deviates from the standard punishment for child abandonment, which typically involves imprisonment of up to 3.5 years, as outlined by the Sentencing Commission of Korea. For foreign nationals, imprisonment can also lead to deportation.
The court’s decision took into account the unique circumstances surrounding the abandonment.
The woman’s child was born out of a common-law marriage that ended due to her partner’s gambling addiction and repeated physical abuse.
Lacking fluency in the Korean language, she struggled to secure employment and relied on family support until her father suffered a brain hemorrhage in April 2022, leaving her and her daughter in dire financial straits.
This ruling follows a two-month trial that involved the assistance of an interpreter and special inspectors for the accused.
While the court acknowledged the seriousness of the offence, it deemed deportation, which would separate the woman from her child, as excessively harsh and unnecessary.
This consideration stemmed from the fact that the accused was facing extraordinary circumstances, and her sister had pledged to assist in caring for the child.