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Majority Of Koreans Oppose Abolishing Adultery As Crime: Survey

February 1, 1989

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A slim majority of South Koreans oppose abolishing a law under which people convicted of adultery can be sentenced up to a year in jail, according to a survey released today.

These South Koreans feel that if penalties for adultery are revoked, illicit sex will increase and public morals will decline, the Korea Applied Statistical Research Institute said its survey indicates.

The Justice Ministry has said it will ask the National Assembly to abolish the law, but the institute said 51 percent of those polled oppose the move to drop adultery from the criminal codes.

The private research institute said 60 percent of the 752 women surveyed and 42 percent of the 756 male respondents wanted to keep the law. The survey was conducted Jan. 18-20 in Seoul.

Pollsters said 53 percent of the respondents in their 20s also felt adultery should remain a crime.

When those in favor of abolishing the law were asked their reasons, 66 percent said adultery was an individual concern, not a matter for the government. Twelve percent said the law doesn’t keep spouses faithful.

Seventy percent who wanted to keep the law said promiscuity and immoral sexual behavior would increase without it. Sixteen percent said wives would be hurt by losing a legal handle to check indiscretions committed by husbands.

Forty percent said men would benefit more than women if the law were changed and only 11 percent said women had more to gain.

Nearly half of those polled, 46 percent, thought adultery was on the rise and 25 percent said it was increasing at an ″alarming rate.″

No margin of error was given for the survey.

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