Korea has the highest suicide rate in the OECD, and websites inciting suicide are mushrooming at an alarming rate.
According to data submitted to lawmaker Kim Jung-rok of the National Assembly's Health and Welfare Committee recently by the Korean Association for Suicide Prevention, a mere 849 suicide websites were reported to authorities in 2008, but the number jumped about 10-fold to 8,511 last year.
Experts say the actual number probably exceeds 10,000 if unreported websites are included.
"The proliferation of suicide websites is definitely a factor that increases Korea's suicide rate," said Prof. Hong Jin-pyo at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. "Just as we punish people merely for possessing child pornography, we should punish the operators of websites that show how to commit suicide."