TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The South Korean government said Monday (Dec. 7) that it has no tolerance for those who drive under the influence and that the drunk driver who killed a Taiwanese student in November will receive harsh penalties for his action.
The 28-year-old Taiwanese woman, Elaine Tseng (曾以琳), was fatally struck by an inebriated driver in Seoul on Nov. 6 while walking home from a professor's house. She was a Ph.D. student at Torch Trinity Graduate University and the daughter of Chiayi Hospital Anesthesiology Department Director Tseng Ching-hui (曾慶暉).
Following the accident, Tseng's relatives and friends launched a petition to the South Korean government, calling for more severe criminal penalties for drunk drivers. The petition said Tseng was "robbed of the endless opportunities and dreams she could have enjoyed" and that driving under the influence should be considered as "premeditated murder."
In a video released on Monday, Song Min-hun, deputy commissioner-general of the South Korean National Police Agency, responded to the petition and described the accident as "regrettable." He said the driver, whose identity was withheld, had been charged with reckless driving causing death on Nov. 19.
Song pointed out that the driver will receive a prison term of at least three years and may face life imprisonment. He added that the South Korean government had toughened penalties for people who drive under the influence in 2018 and that it will strive to eradicate drunk driving in the country.
Song also offered condolences to Tseng's family on behalf of the South Korean government. He urged the South Korean public to recognize the consequences of drunk driving and how it destroys families.