Military

K-pop star who avoided draft may be allowed to return home

A K-pop singer who was deported and barred from South Korea for avoiding military service by changing nationality came a step closer to being allowed to return in a surprise ruling on Thursday.

South Korea’s highest court said it was unlawful to deny a visa to Steve Yoo, who had huge success in the 1990s, more than 15 years after he was kicked out of the country.

Every able-bodied South Korean man is required to serve nearly two years of military service, often in remote areas along the heavily militarised border with North Korea.

Just as he was about to be called up in 2002, Yoo, better known in South Korea as Yoo Seung-jun, gave up his South Korean citizenship to became a naturalised US citizen and so did not have to serve, sparking public outrage.

The former star, now aged 42, filed a lawsuit four years ago challenging the decision of a South Korean consulate in the US to deny him a visa.

The case had already been dismissed twice by lower courts, which said his return would demoralise troops and provoke teenagers to evade conscription.

But in a ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court sent the case back to Seoul High Court for review, saying in a statement that “the law has no restrictions that prevent (him) from visiting South Korea”.

A recent survey showed that almost 70 percent of South Koreans thought his ban should be upheld.

Decades after the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, for many young Korean men military service is an unwanted and deeply resented intrusion that interferes with their studies and career.

– Broken bones –

Some have taken extreme measures to avoid conscription, including a dozen music students who were caught last year having deliberately put on weight before their medical exam, hoping to be declared too heavy for service.

Others have undergone unnecessary surgery, including extracting their own teeth, and given themselves broken bones.

And like Yoo, some — including adult children of the country’s powerful lawmakers — have avoided the duty by obtaining foreign passports and giving up their South Korean citizenship.

Refusing to serve the duty is a crime in the South, which is still technically at war with nuclear-armed Pyongyang. It can lead to jail terms and stigma that can affect social standing and employment prospects.

To justify Yoo’s re-entry ban, the South Korean government said that as a public figure Yoo violated the immigration act, which states that foreigners may be stopped from entering the country if they “pose a threat to public health and interest”.

Lee Yong-suk, an activist at Seoul-based NGO World Without War, said the government has been taking the wrong approach to the issue.

“Those who have served the duty are angry because there are so many problems with the country’s military,” Lee told AFP.

“Rather than really trying to improve the situation and make things better for conscripts, they have unfairly targeted and singled out an individual.”

Related Links

Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com



Thanks for being here;

We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook – our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don’t have a paywall – with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.


SpaceDaily Contributor

$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal


SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only




NUKEWARS

Australian student detained in North Korea ‘released, safe’

Beijing (AFP) July 4, 2019


A 29-year-old Australian student detained in North Korea surfaced in Beijing on Thursday, saying he felt “great” after being released.

Alek Sigley – one of a handful of Westerners living and studying in North Korea – disappeared without a trace around June 23, prompting a week of deep concern and frantic speculation about his fate.

For days Sigley’s family received no word about his whereabouts or wellbeing, stoking fears he may have been the latest in a long line of foreigners to become entan … read more


Show More
Back to top button

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!