Life term sought for S.Korean who killed Vietnamese bride

SEOUL, Sept 17, 2010 (AFP) - South Korean prosecutors Friday demanded a life sentence for a mentally ill man who stabbed his new Vietnamese bride to death, a case that led to curbs on international matchmaking agencies.

The 47-year-old from the southern city of Busan killed the 20-year-old eight days after she arrived in the country to live with him.

The couple had married in Vietnam in January after meeting through an international matchmaking agency, which failed to check his past history of mental illness.

The man, identified only as Jang, said at the time that he heard a ghost's voice telling him to kill his wife during a quarrel.

Prosecutors quoted by Yonhap news agency told a Busan court that Jang had committed the crime despite receiving treatment many times and there was a danger he could repeat it. They also sought treatment for him.

Jang admitted the charge and expressed deep regret, Yonhap reported. Judges will pass sentence at a later hearing.

His lawyer told the court Jang had stopped taking his medication and committed the crime "after hearing voices".

Police have said Jang had been treated 57 times for schizophrenia since July 2005.

After the killing the government announced plans to set up a task force to reform the international matchmaking business.

It will discuss measures ranging from changing how international marriage brokerages are run to helping foreign spouses settle in Korea.

Seoul paid 30 million won (25,000 dollars) to the family of Thach Thi Hoang Ngoc, media reports said.

More than a third of South Korean fishermen and farmers who married last year chose immigrant brides, some because they were unable to find local women happy to lead a rural lifestyle.

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