SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) — The military appellate court sentenced an Army sergeant to the death penalty Monday for killing five fellow soldiers in a shooting rampage at a border outpost last year.
The ruling by the High Court for Armed Forces confirmed the capital punishment on the 23-year-old conscript, surnamed Lim, delivered by a local military court in February.
Five comrades were killed while seven others were wounded as Lim detonated a grenade and sprayed a hail of bullets in June last year in the military outpost of the 22nd Infantry Division near the tensely-guarded border in Goseong, Gangwon Province, 477 kilometers northeast of Seoul.
“The defendant inflicted grenade and shooting attacks on his fellow soldiers and superiors who were carrying out their sacred national defense duty at a front-line military unit located close to North Korean troops,” the military court said as reasons for the sentence.
“This caused a major vacuum in national defense and damaged public trust and morale inside the military,” the court said.
Right after the shooting involving a K-2 rifle, Lim fled with the gun and ammunition in order to kill himself, but was captured alive two days later.
Lim claimed the shooting was a result of bullying he faced inside the barracks, but the court did not accept the defense, dismissing the appeal.
In South Korea, all able-bodied men are required to fill nearly two years of mandatory military service as the country is technically at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty.