6 months' jail for South Korea man who bit off woman's tongue to 'stop her from kissing him'

SEOUL (KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A high court upheld a ruling Monday against a man who bit off a woman's tongue to stop her from kissing him, rejecting his claims that the action was part of self-defence.

The Seoul High Court said the man, identified only by his surname Kim, must serve a six-month prison term - suspended for one year.

Kim, 23, had been indicted on charges of biting off 2cm of the woman's tongue as she forcibly tried to kiss him while intoxicated in June 2013.

Kim was drinking alcohol with his girlfriend and her acquaintances that day. The woman was an acquaintance of his girlfriend.

During the court hearing, Kim claimed that he acted in self-defence to stop the woman from sexually harassing him. A man's right for "sexual self-determination" should equally be protected like that of women, Kim said.

The court, however, rejected his argument.

"The accused could have resisted by pushing the woman away, but he forced his power on her to bite and cut her tongue," judge Kim Sang Hwan said. "The action was beyond what our society can understand."

The woman's injury was "serious" as her tongue swells when she eats hot or spicy food, the judge said according to Yonhap. He also noted that the injury has impaired her speech.

The court, however, allowed that Kim's sense of reason and judgment was impaired when he committed the offence, Yonhap reported. The judge reduced the man's original sentence of one-year jail term with a two-year stay of execution - handed down by a lower court - to six months with a one-year reprieve.