July 19, 2013 11:58
The Army's entertainment corps, established 17 years ago specially for singers and actors drafted into mandatory service, will be abolished after a string of misbehaviors by the coddled stars in its ranks.
A Defense Ministry official said Thursday that the decision to close down the corps came because top brass feel their misconduct "saps troop morale."
The Defense Ministry audited the corps after some of its glittering celebrity soldiers drank alcohol after a performance in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province on June 21. They included Lee Sang-cheol, known as Sangchu, and Choi Dong-wook, the pop star more commonly known as Se7en, who left their motel at 2:30 a.m. and were seen visiting an adult massage parlor.
A disciplinary committee has decided to penalize the two singers and five other corps members who either left their motel room late at night or were spotted using their mobile phones in their base without permission. The penalty entails a five-day cap on holidays, demotion and possible time in stockade.
One of the corps members, who had permission to go out from his senior officer, was given only a warning.
Singer Rain, who wrapped up his military service earlier this month, also participated in the performance in Chuncheon but committed no further violations, the Defense Ministry said. Rain was grounded for just a week in January of this year for a string of violations including regular trysts with his girlfriend, actress Kim Tae-hee, while on official duty
At present, 15 celebrities are serving exclusive entertainment duties. They will be posted to regular units on Aug. 1 or handle desk duties at the Defense Ministry if they have less than three months left to serve.
Five high-ranking officers at the Defense Media Agency, which oversees the entertainment corps, will face disciplinary measures, and four others will get warnings for poorly managing the celebrity soldiers. The Defense Ministry will hire civilian agencies to perform for troops from now on or pluck performers from among regular soldiers.
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