South Korea liquor labels warn against drunken violence
South Korea’s top liquor maker said Thursday it has started labelling bottles with warnings against drunken violence, in a country which is one of the world’s heaviest alcohol consumers.
Hite-Jinro said from Tuesday it began labelling soju and beer bottles sold in Seoul with messages reading: “No more drunken violence! Let’s improve wrong drinking culture!”
The firm is the nation’s top maker of soju, a distilled liquor popular among Koreans, and the second-largest beer seller.
The joint campaign with Seoul police aims to curb alcohol-induced violence and other rowdy behaviour, a spokesman said.
Average adult annual consumption of spirits in South Korea is 9.57 litres, the world’s highest, according to 2005 data from the World Health Organisation published last year.
Street brawls, family violence and other crimes involving drinking are common. But courts often give lenient punishments to offenders who acted under the influence.
In 2009 a court sentenced the rapist of a child to 12 years in prison, rejecting prosecution calls for a life sentence on the grounds the offender had been drinking. The decision sparked national fury.
“We felt tremendously responsible for social problems caused by drinking… we will help with efforts to change our drinking culture to a more positive one,” said a sales manager at Hite-Jinro, quoted in Chosun Ilbo newspaper.