May 03, 2021 12:40
Footballer Suk Hyun-jun is allegedly trying to dodge his mandatory military service in Korea by becoming French.
Suk's Korean passport has been revoked after he failed to return to Korea by April 2019, the deadline of his deferment, and instead France's L'Est-Éclair reported Friday that he is en route to becoming a naturalized French citizen.
To qualify for naturalization, foreigners must have been resident in France for at least three years, a criterion that Suk meets, but they must have lived there for at least five years before they can get their new passport, and Suk will qualify for that by next year.
Suk, who plays for ESTAC Troyes in France's Ligue 2, has been put on a blacklist of draft dodgers by the Military Manpower Administration.
He represented Korea at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but Korea failed to win a medal and therefore did not benefit from exemption from the military.
According to the daily, proficiency in French is another criterion that applicants must satisfy, and Suk is taking lessons.
But Suk's father denied the report on Sunday. He said his son is still in France because he has contractual obligations but has no intention of taking French citizenship. But he added that there is a possibility that his club may proceed with his naturalization to let him stay on. Even if Suk must take French citizenship in order to fulfill his contract and avoid massive fines, he will "somehow" return to Korea to fulfill his military duties, he added.
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