A man rammed his car into a convenience store in Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, after his request to buy a plastic bag a few months before was rejected by the store owner, police said Monday.
The unnamed driver was arrested by police at the scene in the southern region of South Korea. Police are seeking charges of special destruction of private property and retaliatory crime.
At around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the driver slammed the car into the store, damaging some items there. With the lights partially out, the man rushed into the store and assaulted the owner.
The driver was reportedly under the influence of alcohol. No casualties were reported as a result of the accident.
Police saw this as a retaliatory crime, as the driver had earlier been accused of physically harming the owner in late November of last year.
In November 2022, the man had asked the owner for a plastic bag when buying ice cream. The owner refused the request, abiding by a ban on single-use plastic bags by the Ministry of Environment.
Enraged, the man spat on the store owner.
The owner's family later filed a complaint with police. The owner rejected the accused man's request to settle the matter privately instead of opening a case.
Korea's single-use plastic bag ban has been in effect since Nov. 24 in retail stores to address growing plastic consumption, with a one-year grace period.
Once the rule becomes fully enforced, convenience stores will not be allowed to sell plastic bags. The same rule will apply to plastic cups, straws and plastic covers for umbrellas.
Police are seeking additional charges against the accused as a further investigation is underway.
Under Korean law, a retaliatory crime is subject to a sentence of imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years. Special destruction, defined as destruction through a special means of threat, is punishable by jail for a maximum of five years, or by a fine of up to 10 million won ($8,100).