The mandatory military obligation that all men in Korea have is equally applicable to celebrities. However, is it because of the anxiety of being out of the public’s eye while serving? The controversy over avoiding military service is recurring more than ever.
Recently, Ravi and Nafla, who were indicted on charges of violating the Military Service Act, were held at the Seoul Southern District Court. Ravi has been on trial on charges of posing as a fake epilepsy patient, obtaining false medical certificates, and attempting to be exempt from military service. He was sentenced to one year in prison, two years of probation, and 120 hours of community service at his first trial in August.
Rapper Nafla, who has been working as a social worker since February 2021, attempted to avoid military service by complaining of depression. He was arrested and indicted on all charges. He was sentenced to 2 years and six months in prison in the first trial and is currently serving his sentence.
Ravi has accepted the judgment of the first trial, while Nafla immediately filed an appeal. The prosecution also submitted an appeal on the grounds that both sentences were unfair and weighed in on the weight of the public figures at the first appeal trial.
In his final statement, Ravi dismissed the appeal, stating, “Everyone has their own circumstances and reasons to protect, but I made a choice that caused harm to others. If you give me a chance, I will not forget my mistakes and strive to become a better person for the rest of my life.”
As the appeal trial for Ravi and Nafla begins, celebrities who have been criticized for the same reasons in the past are being reexamined. Celebrities such as singer Yoo Seung Jun, actors Jang Hyuk, and Han Jae Seok have been in the public eye for trying to avoid mandatory military service.
Singer and producer MC Mong postponed his enlistment seven times from 1998 to 2006, when he was deemed active-duty. Later, he was accused of intentionally extracting a tooth, causing the military corruption to come to light.
On the other hand, singer PSY became more famous as someone who served in the military twice. Although he completed his service in 2003, controversy arose about his performing 56 times during his service. He then chose to re-enlist in 2007, completing 25 months of military service.
In addition to these celebrities, actors Song Seung Heon, Jang Hyuk, Han Jae Seok were exempted from military service by using a method of manipulating a urine test. However, when the controversy over military service corruption eventually broke out, they acknowledged the fact and apologized.
The three were not subject to criminal punishment due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, but when problems arose in their entertainment activities, they underwent re-medical examinations, enlisted, and completed their military service.