Drunk driver to serve 8 years for death of Taiwanese student in South Korea

Seoul-The South Korean Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an eight-year prison sentence against a man who was accused of causing the death of a Taiwanese student in a drunk driving accident in 2020.

The man, surnamed Kim, was driving under the influence of alcohol in Seoul on Nov. 6, 2020 when he ran a red light and hit Elaine Tseng (???), a Taiwanese Ph.D. student at Torch Trinity Graduate University in the city, according to South Korean media.

Tseng, who had been walking home from a professor's residence, died in the accident.

The verdict on Thursday was final and cannot be appealed, which means Kim, 53, will have to serve eight years in prison for causing Tseng's death, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

After the verdict was issued, Tseng's mother, Shih Yu-ching (???), told reporters in Taiwan that her family was relieved that the Supreme Court had turned down Kim's appeal.

The eight-year sentence is the heaviest in South Korea for that type of offense, Shih said, adding that she hopes her daughter's death will help to heighten public awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.

Tseng's father, Tseng Kin-fui (???), said however that the penalty in fatal DUI cases should be stiffer in South Korea, and he expressed the view that the offense is no different from premeditated murder.

In the first trial of the case, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Kim to eight years in prison for causing the student's death in the DUI accident.

After that, however, the case went bouncing back and forth in the South Korean judicial system, until it again reached the Supreme Court, which issued the final verdict on Thursday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, people who were paying attention to the case had assumed that Kim would get a lighter sentence.

The Supreme Court, however, said in its final ruling that while South Korea's Constitution decrees that heavier sentences cannot be sought in retrials, it does not stipulate that the previous sentence cannot be upheld.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel