The South Korean Ministry of Justice [official website] announced on Sunday that it has enacted a law which allows the use of chemical castration on sex offenders convicted of attacking children under the age of 16 years old. The bill passed [AP report] in the National Assembly [official website] last year 137-13 with 140 legislators declining to cast a vote. According to an anonymous ministry official, "The law takes effect immediately," and dozens of convicted sex offenders could be sentenced [Reuters report] to chemical castration under the legislation this year alone. South Korea is the first Asian country to enact the controversial legislation.
The chemical castration process consists of a series of chemical injections that hinder the effects of the male hormone testosterone. Other countries have considered enacting similar legislation. Earlier this month Russian President Dmitry Medvedev [official profile] proposed a bill [JURIST report] calling for, among other penalties, chemical castration of individuals convicted of sexual offenses against children. In the US, several individual states have enacted legislation allowing for chemical castration of convicted sex offenders including California [materials], Florida [materials] and Louisiana [materials].