The national military recruitment agency recently caught six draft dodgers including four bodybuilders who gained weight by taking excessive amounts of bodybuilding supplements, officials said Wednesday.
The Military Manpower Administration said it sent the six cases to the prosecution, recommending their indictment on draft-dodging charges.
The four professional bodybuilders entered their respective universities through special admission programs for athletes. They reportedly found out in high school that they could avoid active-duty service if they were overweight.
The four gained between 45 kg and 50 kg in an average span of six months and were found unfit for active-duty service, MMA officials explained. After their physical checkup, they all returned to their normal weights of around 70 kg in about five months and now work as professional bodybuilders.
Also among those caught were two men working in the entertainment business. They allegedly feigned mental illness to dodge conscription. It was the first time entertainers were caught for feigning mental problems, the MMA said.
“We plan to expand our investigation to go after those draft dodgers as we believe that there may be more cases of those who gained weight or feigned mental illness to avoid military duty,” said the MMA.
Draft-dodging attempts persist despite the MMA’s efforts to make the physical examinations stricter.
Common attempts include people having their teeth pulled out; having their shoulders dislocated intentionally; raising their blood pressure by pressing certain parts of their body; feigning symptoms of hypertension; falsifying their medical records; and pretending to have medical problems by submitting medical records of other patients.
All able-bodied Korean men must serve in the Army for about 21 months, in the Navy for 23 months or in the Air Force for 24 months. Korea maintains a 639,000-strong military that serves mainly as deterrent against North Korea.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)