South Korean man receives 3-year sentence for assaulting woman over short hair

A young man in South Korea received a three-year jail sentence on April 9 for assaulting a female convenience store clerk over her short hair.

The Jinju branch of the Changwon District Court found the defendant, in his 20s, guilty of attacking both the female victim and another man in his 50s, who intervened to stop the assault.

Alongside the prison term, the assailant was ordered to pay 2.5 million won (approximately RM8,800) to the convenience store owner and 10 million won to the male victim for the severe injuries inflicted.

The assault occurred at a convenience store in Hadae-dong, Jinju city, in November 2023, The Korea Herald reported.

The defendant allegedly targeted the clerk, suspecting her of being a feminist due to her short hair, and expressed hostility towards feminists.

He had said:  "Feminists should be beaten up."

The female victim suffered serious injuries, including permanent hearing impairment, while the male victim also endured significant harm and subsequently left his job due to trauma.

Despite the prosecution's request for a five-year prison term, the court handed down a lesser sentence, citing findings from psychological experts at the state-run Forensic Psychiatry Institute, who determined the defendant to be in an unstable mental state at the time of the attack.

Following the ruling, women's rights groups convened a joint press conference outside the court, condemning what they viewed as a lenient punishment for what they said was "clearly a hate crime".

"It is regrettable that the court did not see the incident as a hate crime... If an act of targeting someone out of hate, just because they belong to a specific group, is not considered a hate crime, then what is?

"The cause of this incident is not a mental illness or an unstable state of mind, but the defendant's hatred towards women," the groups said in a joint statement.

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