S. Korean police investigating 400 unregistered baby cases; 15 confirmed dead

Photo: Yonhap
SEOUL. KAZINFORM - Police are investigating 400 unregistered baby cases, and the number is expected to keep rising, the National Office of Investigation said Wednesday, as a nationwide campaign is under way to confirm the well-being of more than 2,000 undocumented babies born since 2015, Yonhap reports.

A total of 420 «ghost baby» cases had been referred to police as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, and 400 of them are currently under investigation, the office said, more than double the 193 cases announced a day earlier.

Fifteen babies have so far been confirmed dead, and eight of the cases are under investigation after criminal suspicions were detected, while five other cases were closed as no signs of foul play were found, the office said.

The two remaining cases were referred to the prosecution Friday after police found the bodies of two babies in a refrigerator in Suwon, 30 kilometers south of Seoul, and arrested the mother on charges of murder and concealing of a corpse.

An investigation is under way to locate the whereabouts of 353 others, the police said.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it launched an investigation into 24 undocumented newborns left in «baby boxes,» a place where parents can leave an unwanted baby anonymously.

The police have been expanding their probe into cases of ghost babies who have medical records of birth but no official birth registration, as the government launched a nationwide campaign to check the well-being of more than 2,000 unregistered babies.

The campaign came after a mother was apprehended last month on charges of strangling her two newborns, in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and secretly keeping their bodies in a fridge in her apartment in Suwon.

A string of child abuse cases involving such undocumented babies sent the nation reeling.

On Tuesday, the Busan Metropolitan Police booked a woman without detention after she confessed to burying the body of her newborn on a hill near her home in Busan, 320 km southeast of Seoul, when the baby girl suddenly died after she gave birth in February 2018.

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