A growing number of emergency staff has faced physical or verbal assaults while on the job, with the abuse cases more than doubling in 2010 compared with four years ago, a report showed Friday.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) revealed that the number of cases in which rescue workers who experienced violence during their official duty tallied 104 last year, sharply up from 38 in 2006.
Leading up to last year, the figure was 66 in 2007, 71 in 2008 and 66 in 2009, it noted.
According to the 2010 data, violence by drunken people topped the list with 78, followed by aggression or abusive words with 66, with one assault case by a mentally disabled person, NEMA said.
Seventy-five patients attacked emergency workers while being transferred to the hospital, while 27 family members or guardians and two pedestrians pushed, hit or spit on them, in the cited period, the report showed.
Out of 89 cases brought to prosecutors for indictments last year, 53 resulted in fines and nine in jail sentences, while trials on 20 cases are currently underway, it noted.
"We need legal and systematic measures to prevent physical or verbal abuses against emergency staff who work to protect people's lives and safety," said Rep. Jin Young of the Grand National Party, who released the NEMA report. (Yonhap)