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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New suicides fuel military service concerns in South Korea

SEOUL: The South Korean military said that two conscripts were found dead in an apparent suicide, the latest in a series of incidents fuelling concern over young soldiers serving in isolated front-line units.

The two unnamed corporals, who were both in their early 20s, were found hanged at one of their homes while on leave, a defence ministry spokesman said.

Both men were in the 28th Infantry Division serving near the border with North Korea and had been placed on a list of soldiers requiring special monitoring due to concerns over their mental stability, he said.

One of them was deemed unfit to serve last year but continued at the request of his mother, the spokesman said.

The soldier had attempted suicide last October, Yonhap news agency said.

Investigations are under way on whether the two corporals were targets of bullying. Five soldiers in the same division were arrested last month on manslaughter charges over the death of a 23-year-old private.

An enquiry showed the private had been regularly bullied and physically abused. He died during one beating when he was struck in the chest and a chunk of food became lodged in his airway.

In June, a 22-year-old sergeant opened fire on his barrack mates, killing five and wounding seven.

The sergeant – also listed as a soldier requiring special observation – later told investigators that he had been constantly humiliated.

Two army privates from the same division, also listed as mentally vulnerable, committed suicide later in the same month.

Last week, all servicemen halted their regular duties to take part in a day-long “moral education workshop” aimed at stamping out bullying. — AFP

Tags / Keywords: Regional , south korea


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