LetterFromSeoul

Where draft dodgers go to jail, just like in S'pore

To evade NS, S. Korean men gain or lose weight, fake mental disorders or get full body tattoos

A scene from South Korean movie Taegukgi (2004) about two brothers drafted into the army at the outbreak of the Korean War. A South Korean military conscript waving to his family during an induction ceremony at an army training centre in Nonsan. Over
A South Korean military conscript waving to his family during an induction ceremony at an army training centre in Nonsan. Over 200,000 young men join the military every year to learn how to defend the country. Exemptions are granted only to exceptional talents who bring glory to the country.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEOUL • Serve the army or go to jail.

I'm not talking about Singapore's compulsory national service (NS), but South Korea's.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 10, 2021, with the headline 'Where draft dodgers go to jail, just like in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe