Baby starves while father plays games

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Seoul -

South Korean police said on Tuesday they had arrested a man for allegedly allowing his infant son to starve to death while spending days playing online games at Internet cafes.

The 22-year-old man, identified only as “Chung”, was arrested on Monday after the badly decomposed body of the two-year-old was found in a trash bag near the south-eastern city of Daegu, city police said.

The case received extensive media coverage in South Korea, where the ruling conservative party is pushing a bill that would classify online gaming as potentially addictive as drugs, gambling and alcohol.

TV stations aired CCTV footage of Chung in his apartment elevator, nonchalantly checking his hair in the mirror with one hand while holding a trash bag allegedly containing his dead son in the other.

The details echoed a notorious 2010 case that shocked the country when a couple allowed their three-month-old baby to starve to death while they played video games.

In late February, Chung's wife started working in a factory far from the city, leaving her unemployed husband to care for their child.

But he spent most of his time in Internet cafes, visiting home every two or three days to feed the child.

Police said he 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 kilometre away.

Police said Chung 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.

A woman was arrested in 2012 after giving birth in the toilet of an Internet cafe where she had been playing for days, and abandoning the newborn. - Sapa-AFP


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