SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean couple addicted to an Internet game about raising a virtual child were arrested for neglecting their real 3-month-old daughter and letting her starve to death, news reports said.
The couple spent between four and six hours every day at Internet cafes 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 Sept. 24 when they returned home after playing online games at a nearby Internet cafe 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 on Wednesday, it said.
"I'm sorry to 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 5 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."
Calls to the Suwon police team handling the case rang unanswered Saturday.