The Seoul Central District Court on Monday cleared rapper and TV entertainer MC Mong of intentionally pulling out healthy teeth to be exempted from military duty, but sentenced him to a six-month suspended jail term for deliberately delaying enlistment on false grounds. MC Mong, whose real name is Shin Dong-hyun, was also sentenced to 120 hours of community service.
"There are suspicions that the defendant pulled out his teeth to avoid the draft after failing to get proper dental treatment or tooth implant surgery," the presiding judge said. "But the prosecution failed to adequately prove the charge."
Based on the testimony of MC Mong's dentist, the judge said the extraction was "apparently made at his dentist's recommendation to relieve toothache." The dentist told the court he recommended the extraction as MC Mong was still in pain after root canal treatment. He told the court the condition of MC Mong's teeth already met the military's criteria for draft exemption even before he extracted them.
The rapper was approved for the draft after a physical examination in 1998 but was indicted in October of last year on charges of deliberately delaying service on false grounds between 2004 and 2006. The prosecution said it would appeal the acquittal on the charge. MC Mong could end up getting drafted if he is found guilty by a higher court before 2014, when he turns 35. The age limit for the mandatory draft is 36.