Singer pulled teeth to evade duty: prosecutorThe Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday they indicted Shin Dong-hyun, a hip-hop singer better known as his pseudonym “M.C. Mong,” on suspicion that he had four healthy teeth extracted to avoid military service.
According to the prosecution, the 31-year old singer visited a dental clinic in Gangnam, southern Seoul, between 2004 and 2006, and extracted four teeth so that he wouldn’t pass a physical examination for conscription, allegedly violating the military service law.
“We suspect he intentionally extracted at least four teeth so that he would be determined ineligible for the army due to defective masticatory functions,” the prosecutor said.
But the singer denied the charge, saying “I did not try to receive exemption from service, and the previous teeth were really damaged.”
If prosecutors prove a violation by 2014, the singer will have to take a physical examination for conscription again.
According to the investigation, Shin recorded the highest grade in a physical in August 1998, and all of his teeth were healthy. He was disqualified for military service after a second test in 2007 because of his teeth.
Prosecutors said Shin postponed joining the army seven times by saying he was applying to be a civil servant.
The indictment was decided on the recommendation of a civil committee in the prosecutors’ office, which consists of nine civilians, including a professor, taxi driver, accountant, farmer, former teacher and others. It is the first time the prosecution has accepted the recommendation of the committee, which has no power to indict but can investigate controversial cases.
In South Korea, where 21 months of military service is mandatory for all men above the age of 19, the public condemn celebrities who try to evade service for fear of losing popularity while out of the public eye.
By Kim Hee-jin [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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