High-Paid Actor Exempted from Draft for Poverty

A successful actor who makes a substantial annual salary was granted an exemption from mandatory military service on the grounds that his family is unable to support itself without him, a probe of the Military Manpower Administration by the Board of Audit and Inspection has reveled.

Kim Moo-yeol Kim Moo-yeol

Kim Moo-yeol (30) appeared in the recent movie "A Muse" and has performed in a variety of TV dramas and musicals. The probe revealed that Kim was originally found fit to serve as an active duty soldier after his physical exam in March 2001, when he was 19. From 2007 to 2009, the actor delayed enlistment six times, claiming he would be taking the civil service exam or that he had been admitted to a work training facility. But Kim neither took the exam nor entered work training.

Instead he appeared in movies, musicals and TV dramas earning W52.96 million in 2007, W102 million in 2008 and W146 million in 2009 (US$1=W1,152). Kim applied for an exemption on grounds of a knee injury but was rejected. He swiftly made another exemption request saying that his family is unable to support itself, and this was approved.

"MMA officials conducted a shoddy investigation and exempted Kim from mandatory military service even though he was not eligible," a BAI official said. But Kim's management agency said the actor's family is not wealthy and needs money. "Kim's father was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and he has incurred a lot of debt for the treatment," the agency said. "If anything needs to be investigated, we will cooperate diligently."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 22, 2012 13:04 KST