An ancient South Korean law that punished men for conning women to have sex with them by promising marriage has been revoked.

Agencies reported that South Korea’s Constitutional Court put an end to penal code 304 under which offenders who had sex with women “with no penchant for debauchery” by making false promises could be punished with up to two years in jail.

The law placed unnecessary restrictions on individual rights and ignored women’s rights to make their own decisions concerning their sex lives, the court said.

The court said the old law forced “traditional, male-chauvinistic morals” upon women by protecting only those the law deemed had “no penchant for debauchery”.

“Those who have been punished in the past under the old law can now ask for re-examination of their cases so that their criminal records may be wiped out,” court spokesman Noh Hee-Bum told AFP.

Female blackmailers had also used the 56-year-old law to extort money from men, Mr Noh said, by threatening to sue after sex, claiming they had gone to bed with the men after they had been proposed to. The court’s ruling came after two men who had been jailed for the offence petitioned the court.