It's 'To the Barracks' for Draft-Dodging Entertainer

Song Seung-heon, in his exam gown, waits his turn before the examination table. Song Seung-heon, in his exam gown, waits his turn before the examination table.
"Song Seung-heon, active service!" At the Seoul office of the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) in Shingil-dong, seoul on Thursday morning, entertainer Song Seung-heon was conscripted into active duty after retaking his conscription medical exam.

In September, Song was discovered to have enlisted the aid of a broker to help him fail his medical exam and avoid military service.

Song, who came to MMA office at 8:00 sharp to take his physical exam for conscription -- which starts with height and weight measurements and moves to blood tests, urine tests and x-rays -- received a third-rank grade on his physical due to signs of high blood pressure, and was drafted. Accordingly, by Nov. 17, or within the month at the latest, he will enter the military and begin carrying out national defense duties. Song said, "I will faithfully do my military duty and present before my fans a more mature look when I get outíŽ I raise no objections at all to the decision to conscript me. I was a bit confused before, but now that the decision has been made, I feel unencumbered."

Song, who wore a black jacket as he arrived at the examination center guarded by over 100 local reporters and foreign media like Japan's Fuji TV, apologized for his blunder, saying, "I sincerely apologize to the citizensíŽ No matter what I say, it would be of no consolation to those whom I hurt and disappointed." He clearly stated his intention to do his duty, saying, "One has to do ones military duty, and I think everyone worries about that. As a public figure, however, it was a mistake in judgment [to dodge the draft]íŽ The only way to earn your forgiveness is to follow the nation's will and sincerely carry out my military duties."

Entertainer Song Seung-heon, who had to take a new physical exam in connection with a draft-dodging scandal, answers reporters questions ahead of entering the exam facility at the Seoul MMA office Thursday/Yonhap Entertainer Song Seung-heon, who had to take a new physical exam in connection with a draft-dodging scandal, answers reporters questions ahead of entering the exam facility at the Seoul MMA office Thursday/Yonhap


Entertainers Jang Hyuk and Han Jae-seok, who also had their draft exemptions stripped on similar charges, took physical exams at Seoul office of the MMA from noon.

englishnews@chosun.com / 11┐¨ 04, 2004 16:04 KST