Stalking crimes could lead to up to 5 years in prison custody

Amid growing calls for stronger punishment for stalking, the Supreme Court’s Sentencing Committee on Monday said it had decided to recommend a maximum prison term of five years, depending on the gravity of the offense.

The decision comes after the commission, affiliated with the Supreme Court of Korea and consisting of 13 commissioners, held its 128th meeting on Friday to review sentencing guidelines for stalking.

For what it calls a general stalking crime with mitigating factors, the Sentencing Committee proposed a prison term of one to eight months or a fine of 1 million to 10 million won ($760-$7,600). It suggested six months to a maximum one-year prison term for a standard stalking crime or a fine of 5 million to 20 million won, and 10 months to two years and six months of prison for an aggravated stalking offense.

For crimes involving a weapon, the committee proposed prison sentences of one to 10 months or a fine of 3 million to 20 million won for mitigated offenses, a prison term of eight months to 18 months for offenses without mitigating factors, and prison of one year to three years and six months for aggravated offenses.

For seriously aggravated offenses -- where aggravating factors outnumber mitigating factors by two or more -- the maximum sentence proposed is three years in prison, or five years for crimes involving a weapon.

Guidelines on the probation period and sending factors will be discussed in January. After a public hearing, the finalized version will be decided in March or April.

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