Incheon police said Thursday that they would seek an arrest warrant against a day care giver who is alleged to have physically abused a child for not finishing a meal.
The 33-year-old day care provider, identified only by her surname Yang, was accused of striking a 4-year-old female child's face in Incheon last week.
Doubts mounted over the state's monitoring system after it was found that Yang had received a first-grade day care teacher certificate and that the facility where the incident took place received 95 out of 100 points on the Welfare Ministry's evaluation.
Yang admitted Monday that she had punched the child, but she claimed that the act was part of discipline measures to correct the child's bad habit, investigators said.
The police secured surveillance camera footage at the day care facility from the last 24 days, which is the maximum storage period, to look into any further charges against Yang. The investigators also collected witness accounts from parents of 16 other students who reportedly shared similar experiences.
Yang had reportedly been fired from another day care facility for locking a child in a room, according to the parents' accounts.
The police planned to seek the arrest warrant by early Friday.
Families of the children are considering legal action against the day care centre.
The ministry immediately suspended the operation of the day care centre, and said it would be permanently shut down once Yang is convicted.
As concerns grew over the child care system, the police vowed to conduct intensive monitoring of all child-related facilities as part of the efforts to prevent child abuse.
The ruling Saenuri Party also pledged to tighten child care regulations.
"(The government and the ruling party) will make sure to amend the anti-child abuse measures this time. These will include requiring the installation of surveillance cameras at facilities, tightening the eligibility of day care givers and toughening the punishment against child abusers," Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Lee Wan-koo said.
The ruling party and the government will soon form a task force to draft the preventive measures in detail, Lee added.