These suicide cafes have been in the news a lot lately. From the Herald:
Last month, 21 people attempted to commit joint suicide and 12 died in the Gangwon Province. Some were found to be members of a major online suicide community. Last Thursday, the police arrested the founder of the website for aiding and abetting suicide.I have no doubt that these occur more frequently around here, but I generally don't come across their stories unless by accident. That's how I learned about a joint suicide last November west of Suncheon's old downtown. That same day there was a suicide in another Jorye-dong motel; the article is unavailable now but the motel was also unnamed. From this YTN news report, though, you can tell that it's the Boston Motel (보스턴모텔), near the Jorye-dong Home Plus.
The Health Ministry and the KASP will assist the police's anti-suicide campaign by distributing visual and audio educational materials in schools all over the country. They will also offer counseling to those who hinted at suicidal intentions on the internet.
President Lee Myung-bak, during his radio speech yesterday, showed worries on the suicide trend in Korea, especially on the joint suicides of people who met through suicide websites.
"It is deplorable that such websites should exist at all," said Lee. "A person who has enough determination to commit suicide may be up to surviving any difficulties."
A recent OECD data showed that Korea's suicide rate is the highest among all OECD countries. Suicide was also the top-ranking cause of death for Koreans in their 20s, according to the National Statistical Office.
"Government policies are insufficient in eradicating harmful online information," said a police official. "Above all, the internet users themselves need to be aware of the dangers found on the internet and cooperate with these campaigns to clean up the cyber space."