Three military recruits punished for using drugs

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Three military recruits punished for using drugs

The Ministry of National Defense revealed on Wednesday that three soldiers who were caught smoking marijuana in May had been punished, an announcement that spurred public concern regarding lax surveillance in military barracks.

The trio, who separately served in the Army, Navy and Air Force, reportedly received the drug in May, which was disguised in a snack box and sent from a friend who they met while studying abroad in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The three soldiers secretly smoked in the bathroom to avoid surveillance. The Navy recruit was scheduled to be discharged from the military at the end of January.

“In December, the military courts sentenced the three soldiers who smoked marijuana, which is labeled as a drug [in Korea],” an official from the Ministry of National Defense said.

“They also received fines, which amounted to 2 million won to 3 million won for each soldier.”

Each was also sent to a military prison for 10 to 15 days.

The trio were said to have taken advantage of the fact that military security does not check every parcel to avoid human rights violations, and wired 100,000 won ($92) to their hookup. Each parcel contains one gram of marijuana in a snack box.

In response to criticism regarding the military’s belated disclosure of the case, ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said on Thursday, “We received the report only recently from the military units.”

“In the military, where dangerous weapons are handled, drug use is sternly prohibited,” he said. “We will reinforce surveillance and implement punitive measures if any drug use is detected in the barracks.”

BY JEONG YONG-SOO [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]




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