South Korea is a sovereign state in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighboured by China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. With an estimated population of 50 million, it covers a total area 98,480 square kilometres which includes partially forested mountain ranges separated by deep, narrow valleys. Its main exports are wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles and computers. Korea was one nation under the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties until the end of the Korean Empire in 1910, when Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule. Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers in 1945 and three years later the country split in two, beginning decades of conflict between North and South. The current president of The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is Park Geun-hye. She is the first woman to be elected as President in South Korea.
South Korea top court rejects death penalty for Chinese national
Agence France-Presse in Seoul
South Korea’s top court on Wednesday rejected arguments for reinstating the death sentence imposed on a Chinese national convicted of a gruesome murder that shocked the country.
Wu Yuanchun, an ethnic Korean, was originally sentenced to death for the rape, murder and dismemberment of a 28-year-old woman in the southern city of Suwon in April, last year.
Wu, a migrant worker, spent six hours cutting the body into 365 pieces and individually wrapping each one in plastic.
In June, a district court sentenced Wu to death, having accepted the prosecution’s argument that the murder was premeditated and that Wu had intended to sell the body parts.
But the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in October by an appeals court that rejected the argument Wu had planned to kill the woman in order to sell the body parts, prompting prosecutors to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Although the death penalty is still imposed in South Korea, nobody has been executed since 1997.
Wu’s case triggered a backlash against police when it was revealed that the victim had called a police emergency number from her home as the attack was taking place.
The phone line remained open for eight minutes, and the victim could be heard screaming in pain and begging for her life.
Police admitted mistakes and the national police chief resigned as a result.