A man in his 40s was sentenced to prison after stealing eggs because he had not been able to eat in several days.
At the sentencing, the Suwon District Court considered the man's circumstances in which he could not find a job due to the COVID19 pandemic. His sentence would have been 2 years in prison but was reduced due to the consideration of his situation.
According to the Suwon District Court, the 47-year-old man was sentenced to one year in prison for his crimes of stealing 18 eggs.
The court stated, "the accused man already has nine counts of criminal history of breaking into people's house. We are considering how he committed the crime after suffering hardships in his living situation and having difficulties finding a job. However, this sentence is inevitable due to his previous history."
The special law applied by the prosecution stipulates that the person who has received more than three counts of criminal charges related to theft will be sentenced to more than two years and less than twenty years in prison if the individual commits the same crimes again. The individual will be sentenced to prison with no provision for fines.
Accordingly, the court sentenced the man to one year in prison through a "quantitative reduction" that would lower his sentence by half at the judge's discretion.
Earlier in June, the prosecution charged the man with habitual cumulative theft in consideration of his previous record of theft and demanded a one-and-a-half-year prison term.
However, the situation changed after it was revealed that the man committed the crime while starving for 10 days after failing to find a job due to the COVID19.
The case gained attention when back in July, BBC correspondent Laura Bicker uploaded this story on her social media, saying, "Prosecutors in South Korea are asking for an 18-month sentence for a man who stole 18 eggs because he was hungry. This is the same prison term as Son Jong-woo who operated the world’s largest child porn site."
The case, first revealed by JTBC, has been widely known as "the case of the hungry man." The man was indicted on charges of entering a boarding room building in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, and stealing a plate of eggs in March of this year.
Meanwhile, the man was also indicted on embezzlement without detention in May last year on charges of lending his bank account to a voice phishing criminal organization and stealing 5.5 million KRW (~4,800 USD), violating the Electronic Financial Transactions Act.
He was not present at the trial for this case but was sentenced to one year in prison in February this year, and an arrest warrant was issued. During that period, he was found to have stolen the eggs.