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Couple neglects baby for internet game

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1 Couple neglects baby for internet game on Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:59 pm

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Internet-obsessed S.Koreans starved baby

(AFP) – 3 days ago

SEOUL — A South Korean couple left their baby daughter to starve to death at home while playing an Internet game which simulated child-rearing, police said Friday.

The man aged 41 and his 25-year-old wife were arrested Thursday, five months after they reported the death of their three-month-old baby, a police investigator in the city of Suweon just south of Seoul told AFP.

The father met his wife in 2008 through the Internet. They had been on the run since their baby died.

"They were formally arrested yesterday," the investigator said, declining to give details.

The baby was found dead last September 24 and an autopsy showed her death was caused by a long period of malnutrition.

The couple had "raised" an online girl character while neglecting their own prematurely born daughter, feeding her just once a day in between 12-hour stretches at a neighbourhood Internet cafe, Yonhap news agency said.

It quoted police as saying they had become obsessed with raising a virtual girl character called "Anima" in the popular role-playing game "Prius Online".

"The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby," Chung Jin-Won, a police officer, told Yonhap.

"They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby."

There have been sporadic reports of deaths related to Internet game addiction in South Korea. Last month a 32-year-old man died after reportedly playing a computer game for five days with few breaks.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.


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