An anti-stalking law took effect on Thursday, enabling the punishment of perpetrators with up to three years in prison.
It is the first South Korean law that has been enacted specifically targeting stalking.
Previously, the crime was classified as a misdimeanor, subject to less than 100,000 won in fines.
Under the new law, acts of approaching, following or blocking a victim against his or her will; waiting for or observing a victim in and around his or her residence, workplace or school; sending unwelcomed messages, images or videos through mail, telephone or IT networks; and causing anxiety or fear by destroying objects placed around a victim's residence constitute acts of stalking.
The same applies to such acts targeted at the victim's family, friends or cohabitants.
Stalking crimes are now punishable by up to three years in prison or 30 million won in fines.
If a weapon or other dangerous object is used, the perpetrator could face a maximum of five-years behind bars or a fine of 50 million won.
The new law, which also empowers police to better respond to acts of stalking, including providing protection for victims during an investigation and issuing restraining orders, comes after years of public outcry and criticism that weak punishment led to an increase in stalking and other related crimes.
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