Sunday, May 4, 2008


Chinese police have rescued 167 village children sold to work as slave laborers in a city in the booming southern province of Guangdong, newspapers said yesterday. The children, all from the ethnic Yi minority, came from poor families in the Liangshan region of the southwestern province of Sichuan more than 600 miles away. "In all, 167 child laborers have been rescued so far, 107 boys and 60 girls," the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po paper said. China announced a nationwide crackdown on slavery and child labor last year after reports that hundreds of poor farmers, children and mentally disabled people were forced to work in kilns and mines in Shanxi province and neighboring Henan. (Reuters)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Police said Friday they plan to seek arrest warrants for three 14-year-old boys on charges of raping 8-year-old girls last week.Police took the three middle school students into custody Thursday, and planned to seek formal warrants Friday night, said Kwon Byung-soo, a detective handling the case in Daegu, 300
kilometers (185 miles) southeast of Seoul.
The three were the oldest among 11 boys suspected of involvement in the case in which eight elementary school girls, all aged 8, were allegedly raped on the back lawn of a middle school on April 21, Kwon said.
If tried and convicted, they could be sentenced to juvenile prison, although those under 18 are usually placed on probation or ordered to go to reform school, said Oh Se-in, a spokesman for the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office.
The eight other boys face the same allegations as the older three, Kwon said. But their possible punishment can differ depending on their age, as South Korean law classifies minors into three categories and calls for different treatment in criminal cases.
Kwon said three boys, aged 12 and 13, were referred to a family court that will interview them to decide on their possible punishment without formal trial. The court can either release the children or put them on probation.
The remaining five, aged 11, were released because they were so young, Kwon said.
The suspects have not been publicly identified.
The case has caused public outrage and comes on the heels of a series of violent acts against young girls.

Last month, a man in his 40s was arrested for allegedly attempting to rape a 10-year-old girl. Earlier this year, a 39-year-old man was arrested on charges of sexually molesting two schoolgirls and killing them.
«The shocking sexual violence in Daegu appears to have exposed diseases in our society,» the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial Friday, blaming pornography on the Internet and the lack of proper sex education.
Kim Do-yeon, South Korea's education minister, apologized Friday.
«This should have not happened ... I will try to prevent this kind of thing from happening again,» Kim told a parliamentary meeting. «I thoroughly apologize to the people.

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