S Korean teachers convicted of sex crimes to lose licenses

File photo of a classroom

SOUTH KOREA - The government said Wednesday that it will push to strip teachers of their licenses if they are jailed for sex crimes.

Under the current law, teachers who are convicted of sex crimes can be sacked, but they are allowed to keep their teaching licenses.

The stricter rule is part of the measures announced by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family to prevent sex crimes. Sexual and violent crimes comminted by teachers have long been an issue in Korea, but critics pointed out the limitations of nominal penalties. They have warned of convicted teachers moving to another school in a different region and reoffending.

The government will also dismiss teachers who have inappropriate relationships with students, officials said. Teachers have usually been suspended or demoted if they engage in sexual relationships with students.

Aside from teachers, the ministry also said it would launch a mobile service in July that provides information on convicted sex offenders. The personal information of criminals is currently only available on a designated website.

More intelligent electronic tags are also being developed, officials said. The new devices will identify sex offenders' pulse, body temperature and drinking status as well as their locations.

The government vowed to double the number of police investigation units dedicated to sexual violence to 126, and install more than 20,000 surveillance cameras in the country.

The Park Geun-hye administration has been working to tackle what it calls the country's "four social ills" ― sexual violence, school violence, domestic violence and substandard food.