S Korea stu­dents gain weight ‘to dodge mil­i­tary ser­vice’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Seoul, South Korea - Twelve in­ven­tive South Korean col­lege stu­dents de­lib­er­ately made them­selves over­weight to dodge manda­tory mil­i­tary ser­vice, a branch of the armed forces in Seoul said.

The stu­dents - all clas­si­cal mu­sic ma­jors at the same univer­sity in the cap­i­tal - took pro­tein pow­der and drank a large amount of juice on the day of their phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion, the Mil­i­tary Man­power Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“The class­mates shared tips on how to gain weight on an on­line cha­t­room,” it said, adding they drank an es­pe­cially large amount of juice con­tain­ing aloe vera pulp - con­sid­ered to stay in the body longer than other food.

Nearly ev­ery able-bod­ied South Korean man is re­quired to en­rol by age 28 in the mil­i­tary, for a min­i­mum of 21 months. Those deemed too over­weight or un­der­weight, or di­ag­nosed with cer­tain dis­eases or dis­abil­i­ties, are ex­empted and usu­ally as­signed to po­si­tions in places like courts or pub­lic li­braries.

The 12 wily stu­dents were judged too over­weight for con­scrip­tion and were or­dered to work for gov­ern­ment ser­vices in­stead. Two have al­ready fin­ished their pub­lic ser­vice, while four are cur­rently do­ing it and six are wait­ing to be as­signed to po­si­tions at state of­fices. The mil­i­tary said it had used ‘dig­i­tal foren­sic tech­nol­ogy’ to un­cover the ruse, sug­gest­ing it may have seen mes­sages from the cha­t­room used by the stu­dents. Of­fi­cials have sent the case to prose­cu­tors who will de­cide whether to charge the group. If the stu­dents are later found guilty, they will have to un­dergo the phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion again - and may have to serve their time in the mil­i­tary af­ter all, the army warned.

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