SOUTH KOREA’s male entertainers are letting down their country according to one parliamentarian, who claims 7 in 10 of them have delayed their compulsory enlistment in the armed forces.
Kim Hack-yong of the opposition Liberty Korea Party said on Thursday that 587 out of the 794 male entertainers due for enlistment had not done so yet, reported the Korea Herald.
Korean conscription law requires all men 18 to 35 who are able bodied to undertake military service for a minimum of 21 months – one of the longest periods in the world after Israel, Singapore and North Korea.
Even those deemed physically or mentally unfit for the military must complete two years’ civil service by working in a social welfare or public institution.
While there have been calls from the public to shorten the period of service or make it simply voluntary, South Korea is technically still at war with the North.
Kim said that about 44 percent of high income men – those earning above US$440,000 per year – were found to be dodging their enlistment.
According to the Korea Herald, unlike the average male celebrities often enlist in their late 20s or early 30s once they have established their careers in the entertainment industry first.
The rapper T.O.P. – formally of the K-pop group BIGBANG – has had a rough ride in his period of service in the military, having been dismissed from his initial duties for taking drugs.
T.O.P.’s bandmates are due to start their service soon, reported the Herald.
Korea’s conscription laws have reportedly been revised so as to specifically monitor the enlistment of celebrities, athletes and high income earners.