Suspect in deadly Bundang stabbing rampage sentenced to life imprisonment

A regional court sentenced the suspect behind last year's deadly stabbing rampage in Bundang to life in prison on Thursday. The 23-year-old suspect, Choi Won-jong, was charged with smashing his mother's car into passing pedestrians outside a busy department store in early August in Bundang, just south of Seoul, and going on a stabbing spree inside the department store building. Two women died while undergoing treatment after being struck by the car, and 12 others were wounded in the car crash or in the stabbing rampage. The Suwon District Court's branch office in Seongnam on Thursday sentenced Choi to life in prison and ordered him to wear an electronic location tracking device for 30 years, convicting him of murder and attempted murder. The random knife attack by Choi, coming just about two weeks after another deadly random stabbing rampage in southern Seoul, stoked public fears about random assaults and led to a series of copycat stabbing rampage threats online. "This incident stoked the fear that any one could be a target of terrorist attacks in a public place and had a negative impact resulting in frequent online posts threatening to go on a terror attack," the court said. The court also dismissed the appeal for leniency by Choi's side, which claimed that he was in a state of mental vulnerability due to his chronic schizophrenia. Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for Choi. Source: Yonhap News Agency