Report: More overseas Korean men evade military serviceBy Nathan Schwartzman Jan 13, 2013 5:20AM UTC
Source article in Korean is at this link.
A study has found that the number of “emigrant draft dodgers”, who avoid military service on the pretext of overseas travel or study, has been increasing every year. There were 62 in 2007, and 149 in 2012.
According to the Military Manpower Administration on the 12th, the number of men who go overseas for travel or study and then never return in order to not enter military service has reached a total of 915 as of the end of last year. There are new draft dodgers every year, as there were 62 in 2007, 85 in 2008, 89 in 2009, 72 in 2010, 99 in 2011, and 149 in 2012.
The reasons for the increase in the number of draft dodgers going overseas were listed as the increased freedom to go overseas, and the shuttering of various programs to ensure that men complete their military service.
In 2007 the government ended the “overseas travel permission system” for men 24 and under who had not yet completed their military service, on grounds that it was overly restrictive. However, it was maintained for such men over the age of 25. That is, men 24 and under who have not yet served in the military may travel overseas without obtaining permission, and so some leave and never return in order to avoid military service. Also in 2007, the “guaranteed return system” for men who have not yet served, under which a relative or similar would serve as a guarantor that the traveler would return to Korea, was changed into the “military service return guarantee insurance system”.
The MMA said that of reasons the 915 men are able to avoid military service, 523 (57%) are studying abroad, 276 (305) are on short trips, 33 have been living with their parents for five or more years, and 83 are visiting friends, in language study programs, or using other reasons.
758 (83%) of them are in the United States, 27 are in Canada, 26 are in Australia, 15 are in Japan, 10 are in China, and four are in Germany. 62 are in other countries.
The MMA has asked police to take action against overseas draft dodgers. Of the 915 men, 729 are under indictment, and another 162 may be indicted. Even if indicted they cannot be punished unless they return to this country, so some of the indictments have been suspended. If the cause of the suspension is lifted (such as if the accused returns and enlists), the investigation may be re-commenced.
Overseas draft dodgers can be sentenced to three years in prison when they return to this country.