Suwon court to look into parents who left kids in hot carThe Suwon District Court in Gyeonggi said it would look into the child abuse charges involving one of its judges who, along with her husband, were arrested in Guam last week after leaving their 1-year-old and 6-year-old children alone in a hot car for at least half an hour while they went shopping for groceries.
In Korea, it is not illegal to leave children unattended in a motor vehicle unless they get injured or die, which means the married couple will not be tried in court unless authorities discover the siblings have been harmed.
But critics have been pressing the Suwon court to take disciplinary action for trashing the country’s reputation, leading the court to announce its latest decision. The husband, who works for a major law firm here, could face punishment by the Korean Bar Association if the group decides to review the case.
Kim Hyun, president of the association, said a review was “necessary,” but has yet to say what the lawyers’ group will do.
The 38-year-old husband and 35-year-old wife were charged in a Guam court on Oct. 3 with two misdemeanor counts of child abuse and one count of leaving their children unattended in a car, according to Pacific Daily News, a news outlet in the American territory.
Their car was reportedly parked outside Kmart, a grocery store, on Oct. 2, when two passersby called 911 at about 2:50 p.m. to report seeing the children in the back seat of a Mitsubishi Lancer. The car was not running and the un-tinted windows were rolled up.
Police arrived at about 2:54 p.m., knocked on the window and called to the kids, who appeared “slumped forward in their seats,” the outlet wrote, citing court documents. The police shouts did not wake the children.
Technicians from Guam’s fire department began working to wedge the door open at 3 p.m., while police continuously tried to wake the children, both of whom had “sweat streaming from their faces.”
The Pacific Daily News cited an officer as saying he felt “hot air” escape from the car when the door finally opened at 3:05 p.m., after which the kids were woken up. No injuries were reported. When the Korean parents approached the car at 3:15 p.m., the father reportedly said they were in the store for only “three minutes.”
The couple was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $80 in court costs, said the Guam outlet. They arrived back in Korea last Friday.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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