Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Suicide farmer

Farmer suicides over rice market
From correspondents in Pusan, South Korea
17 November 2005

A SOUTH Korean farmer angered by plans to open up the local rice market killed herself by drinking insecticide, police today said as Pacific Rim leaders push at a meeting in the country for freer world trade.

Oh Cho-ok, 40, a farmer from a southern village, urged South Korean politicians in her suicide note not to pass measures which would incrementally open the country's rice markets as part of its World Trade Organisation obligations.

"We can't allow rice imports. We can't, for our countrymen," police said her suicide note read. Oh drank insecticide and died at a hospital in the southern city of Taegu today, police said. She did not mention the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting being held in South Korea's second city of Busan in her note, but tens of thousands of farmers are scheduled to protest in Busan tomorrow against APEC's calls for trade liberalisation.

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