South Korean military prosecutors charge 4 soldiers with homicide over April hazing death

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Officials say South Korean military prosecutors are charging four soldiers with homicide over the hazing death of a young army conscript in April.

The soldiers were previously charged with manslaughter. But prosecutors decided Tuesday on a more serious homicide charge after concluding that the soldiers likely knew the 21-year-old victim could die. Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok says that the accused face a minimum five years in prison and potentially life imprisonment or death.

Prosecutors say that the suspects regularly bullied the victim for about a month. They allegedly struck him in the chest and forced him to swallow a chunk of food that clogged his airway before he collapsed.

Bullying and hazing are serious problems in South Korea's military. Service is mandatory for all able-bodied men.