Border death soldier hooked on Web war games


June 23, 2005, 04:02 PM
Border death soldier hooked on Web war games
S. Korean accused of killing 8 reportedly confused fantasy, reality
Updated: 7:41 a.m. ET June 23, 2005SEOUL, South Korea - A South Korean conscript accused of killing eight soldiers near the border with North Korea was so engrossed in online war games he could not distinguish between fantasy and reality, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

In a detailed report on Sunday’s incident in which a soldier tossed a grenade among barrack comrades and then opened fire, the ministry said the private -- officially identified only as “Kim” -- had planned the crime for at least a week because of bullying.

“He was so hooked on online war games he could master most of them,” said a ministry statement. “He was daydreaming so much he couldn’t tell the real world from the imaginary world.”

'I thought war had broken out'
Some of those who survived the early-hours assault said on television and in the statement they thought North Korean troops were attacking through the fortified Demilitarized Zone border the South Korean troops were guarding.

“When I heard the shooting, I thought war had broken out,” said one sergeant on television.

The Demilitarized Zone is one of the world’s most sensitive military regions; a tense border dividing 1.1 million North Korean troops from 690,000 South Korean troops -- many of them conscripts. Some 30,000 U.S. forces are also based in the South.

Seven corporals and one first lieutenant died on Sunday, the worst such incident in the army in 20 years, according to the ministry. Four other soldiers were wounded.

The ministry said the investigation and questioning had shown the soldier had used a corporal’s weapon and then picked up his own rifle and returned to his guardpost. Two of those shot were not in the sleeping quarters.

The incident has prompted much debate among South Koreans about conditions in military service for a new generation that has never experienced war or privation.

The accused soldier, who had been on guard duty at the frontier, faces a possible court martial for murder. He confessed soon after the incident and was arrested, Thursday’s 18-page statement said. It said 44 shots had been fired.

Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung offered to resign on Wednesday over the killings, but President Roh Moo-hyun has not decided yet whether to accept the resignation.

Soldier re-enacts killings
The accused soldier re-enacted the incident at the scene for investigators on Wednesday. Relatives of the dead also watched.

The soldier -- described in the statement as a loner and introvert -- was assigned to the border in January after basic training. South Korean men are generally conscripted for two years, although some serve longer. The Demilitarized Zone is one of the toughest assignments for conscripts or professional soldiers because of the constant tension and remoteness.

The statement said a corporal had chastised the soldier on May 11 with the words: “You are annoying me. Go away to another unit.”

One sergeant was quoted in the statement as saying the soldier had repeatedly said he would “do his best.”

“Therefore I did not mark him down as someone who needed to be watched,” the sergeant was quoted as saying.


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June 23, 2005, 04:10 PM
officially identified only as “Kim”

That narrows it down... :p

Videogames kill. Somehow mine must suck. I just invaded Korea yesterday in Rise of Nations, took over the Middle East and won Vietnam. But I haven't felt like shooting anybody.

June 23, 2005, 04:15 PM
Self-conditioning through sleep-deprivation and repetitive stimuli, plus diet probably played a role in the timing of food (self-reward) and nutrient effects on brain function (cults deprive initiates of protein).

Once or twice I stayed awake way too long trying to get stuff done, and it was indeed hard to distinguish reality, as people I tried to converse with will admit... But it was pretty clear to me that I was very tired and very confused, so I think this guy 'went along for the ride' with his delusions. But that's just a guess, probably shouldn't make guesses.

June 23, 2005, 05:00 PM
"But I haven't felt like shooting anybody."

Skunk, you need to take off your tinfoil hat while playing. This allows the subliminal messages from the game to be pojected directly into your cerebral cortex.

Play some more without the hat. I guarantee you'll be a mass murderer by Monday.

June 23, 2005, 05:10 PM
I've been playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This morning I woke up covered in tattoos and I have a Lambourgini with bullet holes in it parked in the driveway. Can't really remember how it got there. Go figure.

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