A gamer playing online game at a Seoul, South Korea's gaming cafe. Photo: AP
A man who let his two-year-old son die at home after leaving to play video games for several days has been arrested, South Korean police said yesterday.
It was a development likely to reignite a long-running debate about the impact of obsessive gaming, a blog of Wall Street Journal says.
The police agency for Daegu said the 22-year-old suspect on Sunday confessed to leaving his child unattended for 10 days in total from late February, causing his death early last month.
The father, identified just by his family name Jeong, waited for about a month before leaving the body at a flower garden on Friday around half a kilometre away from his residence, wrapped up in a blanket and inside a plastic bag, police said.
Jeong on Sunday initially reported his baby as missing to the police but later admitted his responsibility during questioning, police said.
The case follows other recent deaths of children associated with their parents’ playing of video games, which have led some South Koreans to demand regulation over games use.
Last year, an anti-addiction law introduced in parliament included video games alongside alcohol, drugs and gambling, angering people who said the categorisation was too broad.
In 2012, a woman in Seoul was caught after strangling her newborn baby to death at a cyber café. The national media reported that she was unaware of her pregnancy and delivered the baby during a visit to the café, known as “PC bang” in Korean.
Two years before, police arrested a couple in Seoul for allowing their three-month-old baby to starve to death while they, too, were playing video games. The couple blamed the death on their lack of knowledge in childcare, adding that winning virtual items and converting them back to cash was their only source of income.
Jeong’s family told the police that he was “addicted” to video games, an officer at the Daegu police agency said yesterday.
The officer, however, did not confirm whether his alleged addiction has been diagnosed by psychologists.
Jeong is jobless and has a criminal record, including larceny, according to police.