South Korea has some really strict regulations when it comes to military service. All able-bodied men in the country are required to enroll in the military before they turn 28 and serve at least 21 months.
Of course, there are a few exemptions for people who are sick or suffer from weight issues. However, even those exempted from field duty are assigned to administrative positions such as court duties or jobs in public libraries.
Although a number of people reportedly try to dodge the mandatory service by breaking their arms or dislocating their shoulder, there are a few who have made headlines for taking a different route to avoid the military duty.
Just recently, the Military Manpower Administration, which is a branch of armed forces in the country, uncovered the case of 12 classical music students in Seoul who reportedly gained weight in order to evade the service.
According to the report, the students, who attended the same university, consumed protein powder and drank a large amount of juice containing aloe vera pulp – as it takes longer to digest than other food – on the day they were supposed to go through physical examination.
“The classmates shared tips on how to gain weight on an online chat room,” said the authorities, adding the military used “digital forensic technology” to learn about the deception. It is believed officials may have seen the students’ online conversations as well.
The case has now been forwarded to prosecutors, who will determine if the group should face charges for the alleged ruse.
It is important to mention two of 12 students have already finished their assigned service in the public sector while four are currently in the process of completing it. Meanwhile, the rest are waiting to be appointed at state offices.
If found guilty, the students will apparently have to appear for a physical exam once again and may have to complete military service if found eligible, said authorities.
This is certainly not the first time someone has been arrested for trying to dodge military service by gaining weight.
Earlier this year, a South Korean man was found guilty of deliberately gaining 30 kilograms within just six months to avoid the mandatory military service.
The 21-year-old was 5-foot-10 and weighed 191 lbs. when he graduated from high school in February. He gained weight and reached 249 lbs. by the time he received a second physical examination in July. He was charged with a suspended prison sentence by the Cheongju District Court after authorities discovered why he put on that much of weight.
After gaining weight, his body mass index became 36.1, which is above maximum to serve in the military. So, the man was ordered to serve in a public position that didn’t require much physical exertion.
Although his strategy worked for a while, it couldn’t last for long.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Kim Hong-Ji