SKorea clamps down on sex crimes among army personnel

SEOUL - A series of sexual abuse cases in the South Korean military have prompted a new set of gender-related rules, according to army officers on Thursday.

Requesting anonymity to protect their identities, the officers told local news agency Yonhap that male and female service personnel will be ordered to follow strict guidelines.

"The 10 commandments would include banning a male or female soldier from entering the residency of a colleague of the opposite sex alone, and prohibiting using both hands when shaking hands among different sexes," one officer said.

Double-handed handshakes can demonstrate respect or appreciation in Korean culture – but such physical contact also holds the potential for abuse.

Another officer revealed that tough penalties would be handed to those who violate the new code of conduct, which is subject to a legal review.

The decision to draw up the measures was reached Tuesday – as the army chief of staff held a meeting in response to the arrest on the same day of a colonel charged with raping a female subordinate at his residence.

In a separate high-profile case, a two-star army general was arrested last October for alleged sexual harassment committed at his office.

Unlike men, women in South Korea are not obliged to serve in the military – but Park Geun-hye, the country’s first female president, is also head of the armed forces.

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