Two half-Korean basketball players playing in Korea’s top division basketball league have acquired Korean citizenship, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.
Moon Tae-young and his elder brother Tae-jong, who were born to an American farther and a Korean mother, received dual citizenship status in accordance with the revised immigration law, the ministry said.
Moon Tae-young (left) and his brother Moon Tae-jong pose after acquiring Korean citizenship on Thursday. (KBL)
Previously, Korean overseas adoptees and others who wished to acquire Korean citizenship had to renounce their previous nationality. But under the revised Nationality Act, which took effect on Jan. 1, the government offers dual citizenship to foreigners with outstanding talents.
Tae-young was picked up by the LG Sakers in 2009 through the “ethnic-Korean draft”― a unique recruiting system the KBL implemented for half-Korean basketball players. In his debut season in 2009, he was the team’s highest-scoring player with an average of 21.9 points in 54 games, helping the team to finish fourth in the league.
His elder brother Tae-jong, who joined the ET Land Elephants in 2010, also had a successful debut season here, averaging 17.4 points a game, helping the team finish second in the league.
The Korea Basketball League association and the Korean Olympic committee sent earlier a special recommendation to the government to allow them to play for the Korean national team, and the Justice Ministry finally approved on Thursday their dual citizenship.
Tae-jong has already been named for the preliminary roster for the national team, which is now preparing for the Asian Championships in September.
The KBL governing body has been providing a Korean language course for the two since June 2010 in cooperation with the Institute of International Education at Kyung Hee University.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)