S Korea unveils measures to root out bullying in barracks life

09:14, July 20, 2011      

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South Korea unveiled Tuesday a set of new rules aimed at uprooting seeds of abuses and harassment prevalent in barracks life, blamed for the recent shooting rampage that killed four marines.

A 19-year-old marine corporal surnamed Kim shot four marines to death and injured others in a shooting spree earlier this month on an island base west of Seoul. Investigators have said Kim, who unsuccessfully attempted to kill himself before his arrest, said he had been bullied by his superiors and juniors alike.

The incident pushed South Korea's chief marine commander to offer to step down and prodded the embarrassed defense ministry into reforming the highly hierarchical culture of barracks life.

The new rules announced Tuesday, which are legally binding, strictly ban physical and verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment, and state that soldiers cannot make orders or instructions to comrades except he is a squad commander.

South Korea requires all able-bodied young men to serve about two years of military duty.

Investigators, meanwhile, conducted a re-enactment of the deadly shooting Tuesday, with the suspected accomplice in attendance.

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