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Couple glued to Internet starve three-month-old kid

Published:Monday | March 8, 2010 | 12:00 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP):

A SOUTH Korean couple addicted to an Internet game about raising a virtual child were arrested for neglecting their real three-month-old daughter and letting her starve to death, news reports said.

The couple spent between four and six hours every day at Internet cafés in Suwon, a city just south of Seoul, and bottle-fed their baby only once a day, the Yonhap news agency and other South Korean media reported, citing police.

The couple found their baby dead on September 24 when they returned home after playing online games at a nearby Internet café all night, Yonhap reported.

The 41-year-old father and his 25-year-old wife, both jobless, went into hiding at a relative's home north of Seoul after a police autopsy found the baby died because of a long period of malnutrition, the report said. Police arrested the couple last Wednesday, it said.

"I'm sorry for my daughter and hope she doesn't get sick in heaven," the father was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

News reports said the girl was born prematurely, weighing five pounds, and had spent one month in an incubator.

The couple, who met each other through an Internet chat site, was reportedly obsessed with a role-playing game called
Prius Online
in which they nurtured a virtual girl dubbed 'Anima'.