A South Korean court Tuesday passed an 18-month prison term on a baker who posted a doctored photo of a loaf containing a dead rat in an attempt to taint the reputation of a rival shop.

The 35-year-old baker, using an alias, had claimed on a popular website that he found the rodent in a loaf that he bought from a leading bakery franchise just before last Christmas.

Kim, who owned a branch of another bakery franchise atPyeongtaek, 70 kilometres (45 miles) south of Seoul, admitted he fabricated the case to hurt his rival store's reputation and boost business at his own shop.

"A heavy sentence is unavoidable for the defendant because he had intentionally planned the crime, causing losses to the rival bakery's business and spreading distrust about food safety among the public," the Seoul Central District Court said in a ruling quoted by Yonhap news agency.

Source: AFP Global Edition

Creative Commons image via flickr user braindamaged217.