Celebrity Soldiers Spotted Leaving Massage Parlor

While this year has already seen a high profile scandal involving a celebrity in uniform, an investigation during the last days of June lead Koreans to seriously question the system of special service for famous conscripts. Two “entertainment soldiers”, alleged to be Sangchu or Seven, were spotted leaving massage parlors near their base. The contrast between the open violation of military regulations by the two celebrities and their light punishment by the Ministry of Defense outraged netizens, who questioned why they were being treated differently from ordinary soldiers.

Article from SBS:

“Entertainment Soldier” scandal leads to disappointment, frustration

One of the longest running television shows in Korea, now entering its 50th year, is “The Entertainment Express”. The audience consists almost entirely of active members of the military, as the purpose of the show is to entertain and bring comfort to brave Korean soldiers in training and at the front. The show is currently in the midst of an shocking scandal.

The main actors at the show are so called “entertainment soldiers”, who hold an official rank just like rank and file soldiers and who are attached to the Defense Media Agency, which is a part of the Ministry of Defense. The show was designed to raise morale among Korean soldiers and encourage a sense of camaraderie.

Up until yesterday, (June 25th), that was all anyone thought about entertainment soldiers and the program. However, due to “Hyeonjang 21”, an SBS investigative TV program, the public has now learned about a disappointing lack of discipline among the entertainment soldiers. It was really shocking to see the image of entertainment soldiers, on June 21st, on their way to a motel in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province after participating in a special episode commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Korean War (It broke out on June 25, 1950).

On that day, the entertainment soldiers wore civilian clothes rather than military uniforms and were holding cell phones instead of rifles or shovels. They enjoyed drinking like college fraternity brothers at a party instead of abiding by military discipline in a chilly barracks. They were wandering around Chuncheon city like a hyena prowling after its prey at dawn.

At 2 a.m., two singer soldiers were spotted visiting two massage parlors in the city of Chuncheon. It was unbelievable. When a reporter approached the soldiers as they left the massage parlor, they responded shockingly by twisting his arm and trying to grab his camera.

A reporter asked them “Did you come to this massage parlor and visit another before?”, “By the way, why did you break my camera?”  (No answer)..

A reporter asks the two men: “Did you just visit this massage parlor?”,
“By the way, why did you break my camera?” (No response)..

It would be a mistake to jump to conclusions, but it is necessary to ask the question “How could entertainment soldiers do such a thing and who gave them these privileges?”

The Ministry of Defense and the Defense Media Agency authorities gave an absurd explanation for some entertainment soldiers going to massage parlors. They said, “the truth is that the two soldiers involved had pain in their knees. The reason they were looking for massage parlors was just for physical therapy.” Meaning, they wanted to go massage parlors, not a hospital emergency room. It sounds more like a “shield” (a Korean term when fans defend their idol in an absurd way)”. It is obvious that the source of entertainers’ inappropriate privileges is their commanding officers and the military itself.

The authorities of the Defense Media Agency gave an absurd explanation, saying, “the men were suffering from painful shoulders and knees at that time, so they went to massage parlors.”

The authorities of the Defense Media Agency gave an absurd explanation, saying, “the men were suffering from painful shoulders and knees at that time, so they went to massage parlors.”

The soliders have now been placed under investigation according to the Military Criminal Act’s article 79 concerning absence without leave, the Military Personnel Management Act’s article 47 of obligation duty, and article 56 of cause for disciplinary action.

At the end of the “Hyeonjang 21” program, the reporter reminded viewers that the broadcast date was June 25, when our soldiers began their sacrifice in 1950. It is necessary to judge the facts clearly and punish the relevant entertainment soldiers according to military law. They will not be given special privileges. Entertaining is a job, not a special status.

But where can other soldiers, wounded by this scandal involving entertainment soldiers, receive massage for their distress?

There were many online parodies of the entertainment soldiers’ behavior. Pictures of lettuce [sangchu], the number seven, and rain, obvious allusions to the names of the celebrities, allowed critics to bypass search engine filters.

1. Lettuce (one of the relevant singer soldiers’ name) 2. IOC president announced “Yeongchang(the stockade for soldiers) 2013” to encourage them to return instead of “Pyeongchang(the Korean venue of winter Olympic in 2018)” 3. A foreign comedian who has recently experienced Korean army through the TV program says “If I feel tired, may I go to the massage parlor?” 4. A number seven card in Korean traditional card game “Hwatu”: each card has its own number and symbol. This card means “Rain.”  5. It says “After performing, please come to a rehabilitation facility after 3 a.m.,” even though it shows massage parlors’ signs in the street. 6. This is a sheet promoting a massage parlor only for soldiers. It says “Welcome Entertainers”

1. Lettuce (one of the relevant singer soldiers’ name)
2. IOC president announced “Yeongchang(the stockade for soldiers) 2013” to encourage them to return instead of “Pyeongchang(the Korean venue of winter Olympic in 2018)”
3. A foreign comedian who has recently experienced Korean army through the TV program says “If I feel tired, may I go to the massage parlor?”
4. A number seven card in Korean traditional card game “Hwatu”: each card has its own number and symbol. This card means “Rain.”
5. It says “After performing, please come to a rehabilitation facility after 3 a.m.,” even though it shows massage parlors’ signs in the street.
6. This is a sheet promoting a massage parlor only for soldiers. It says “Welcome Entertainers”

Comments from Nate:

juni****:

They hit the reporter = assault, They destroyed a camera = vandalism, They were wandering off base at night=desertion from the army, They went to massage parlors = illegal prostitution, They wore civilian clothes= a violation of maintaining the dignity of a soldier.. If you were a common soldier, you would have to go to the stockade (As above, the “Yeongchang”)

tkdc****:

They are not common soldiers.. Seriously, all entertainment soldiers including those who already left the army should rejoin.

higg****:

Steve Yoo (Note: Yoo Seung-jun, a Korean singer who got American citizenship in order to avoid going to army):I should have gone there.. if I had known that the army was so flexible.
Exodontia Mong (Note: MC mong, a Korean singer who took his teeth out intentionally for the same reason above): I didn’t know the army was like that. Oh, my poor teeth.. give my teeth back to me.
Asthma Yoocheon(Note: a Korean singer and actor who, giving asthma as a reason, served in the public affairs office instead of going to the reguler army): I still don’t want to go there. “Cough! Cough!”

sayf**** :

Do you know who will go through men-boong the most? Other entertainers who were supposed to become entertainment soldiers! Even if the system of entertainment soldiers is maintained, it will be different from now on. Needless to say, if it is abolished, they could not go to massage parlors any more. Good luck, ke ke ke

paxl****:

Entertainment soldiers should be abolished as soon as possible!!!

viva**** :

The relevant authorities who didn’t manage and control entertainment soldiers should be punished.. Does being an entertainer mean you are an almighty god? I don’t understand why they were afraid of them. The Ministry of Defense should punish them according to military law. Entertainment soldiers should report back to their original units and go through life as common soldiers. The obligation of defending the country applies to you without exception. I am speechless..

daum**** :

What a lousy military!

blac****:

I think the entertainment soldiers who already received their discharge from military service should be under investigation, or rejoin the army and serve again, like Psy.

oiha****:

Meanwhile, I can’t understand those who support massage parlors. The reason they got criticized was that they went there “as a active duty soldier”. I am not a man but I feel anger. In my brother’s case, after he went to the army, my mother was crying all day and even my expressionless father felt sad when he got a call from my brother. Whenever he said he couldn’t endure any more, we felt worried if he would decide to kill himself. Even my brother, who was weak, skinny and had hepatitis type B, had to be assigned to a reconnaissance division. But you muscular pigs just played at the military life. There was no difference between when you were out of uniform and now that you are photographed in one. I can’t contain my anger.

thet****:

If necessary, it is inevitable..

han1****:

Do you remember Rain‘s scandal with Kim Tae-hee? At that time, he wrote a book report as a disciplinary measure. I already knew there was something we don’t know.. What a great spirit of mutual help! How can it occur frequently in the Korean army?

zoos****:

Just one female entertainer would improve our military fighting power more than tens of millions of male entertainment soldiers.

ibp9****:

Kim Tae-hee (Note: the Korean actress who was singer Rain’s girlfriend) doesn’t have a good eye for men.

onio**** :

Park Han-byeol( a Korean actress who was singer Seven’s girlfriend) is going to be shocked when she sees this. Heol..

powe****:

Who can believe this absurd explanation for treatment?? You idiots, ke ke ke Who is really looking for physical therapy in a massage parlor?

j123**** :

Wow.. All comments including the entertainment soldiers‘ names were being deleted.. Lane(it refers to the singer Rain) , Number (it refers to the singer Seven), a sesame leaf(it referred to the singer Sangchu).

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  • Mighty曹

    LMAO @ “the men were suffering from painful shoulders and knees at that time, so they went to massage parlors.” Even the North is frowning over this excuse.

    • Paul M

      I think everyone would be more convinced if they had said “the men were suffering from a painful swelling that needed to be alleviated.”

      • Mighty曹

        hahaha…. painful “swelling”. Indeed.

        • linette lee

          Legal prostitution is BS. All prostitution establishments should be illegal and shut down. What kind of men go there and what kind of women work there? If given a choice why would any one want to work as a prostitute unless they are desperate and in need of money? Even if someone really really like sex they want to pick their partners and not just sleep with any clients. Women should not tolerate men going to those establishments. It’s BS.

          • Mighty曹

            Hey, wrong post!

          • jon776

            If given choice, who would work with anything if they didn’t have to? Stupid argument. Sex is just massage of and with parts of your body that has more nerv endings than others. If you see anything wrong with it it’s just because you’re a moralist asshole.

          • NiiaChaan

            I live in the Netherlands where there is legal prostitution. Do you understand why it is legal? It is legal so the police can keep an eye on them and check up on a regular basis to see if they’re not forcing women into prostitution. If it’s illegal it is waaay harder to track down or to help the women there.

      • mr.wiener

        nyuck! nyuck! nyuck!

  • harvz

    Sangchu is more like lettuce fwiw

  • SnakeEyes

    Just to clarify: it wasn’t Rain but Seven who got caught going to the massage parlor

    • ralph

      Rain is also almost the same….

      • ramyeon

        Yes and no. While he’s had his own scandal as the result of taking advantage of his position as a celebrity soldier, it is totally unrelated to this one. In a way Se7en is actually in a worse position because not only did he break the rules of his military service, he cheated on his long term and very public girlfriend Park Han Byul, also a celebrity in her own right.

        • markus peg

          Are we sure that he cheated on his long term girlfriend though?

          • ramyeon

            Are you questioning what goes on at these “massage parlors” or the actual status of his relationship with his girlfriend at the time?

          • markus peg

            I’m just saying, someone as famous as him wouldn’t have to go to such a low class place. so did he really do anything? we are only assuming he did.

            If most people had a girl like Park Han Byul they would choose not to do anything seedy like that…

          • raminess

            Well, see, though he wouldn’t HAVE to, it doesn’t mean he necessarily would reject the convenience of it.

            Arnold Schwarzenegger had an affair with the maid. Not because she was a gorgeous supermodel of a woman, or had some sort of social or economical advantage to offer him. He slept with the maid (and has a child with her) because it was convenient for him. She was there, all day, every day. In his mind, it was probably a case of “Why not?” instead of “why her?” Just because you CAN afford the expensive filet mignon doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gonna turn down the free burger.

          • Dantastical

            But why would you PAY for a burger when you’ve already got the expensive filet mignon?

  • ramyeon

    Rain wasn’t actually involved in this scandal at all. The idol with Sangchu at the massage parlour was Se7en, and the hwatu card directly references that being by being the number 7. Rain’s scandal with military service was entirely different.

    • First time

      And Yoochun hasn’t even served in the army yet…

      • fordeas

        Yoochun isn’t ever serving in the army because he has asthma…yet he can smoke and dance daily.

        • Guest

          Yoochun barely dances (what he does on stage is not what I would call dancing). Idk if he stopped smoking though…

    • Patricks

      He was out drinking with them before they went to the parlour.

      • ramyeon

        Yes, but before being edited this article had Rain’s name in place of Se7en’s every time. Although drinking is part of the greater issue the main focus in this case is Se7en & Sangchu visiting the massage parlour.

  • Brett

    It’s my experience that most Korean men can not criticize these few. There is a reason massage parlors are on every street corner.

    Soldiers frequent the joints in and out of uniform, and it is not uncommon for a boy’s friends to pay for his first time the week before he enlists in the army.

    • Brett

      Why haven’t reporters followed normal soldiers (as opposed to celebrity ones)? The answer is, no one cares if they take a night off to get laid. The only reason this is being heard is because they are celebrities and that means “scandal”. If there was such an outrage about soldiers paying for sex, why are the cities surrounding the DMZ loaded with brothels?

      I can think of much worse ways soldiers could spend their time than this.

      • harvz

        The bigger issue is that these entertainment soldiers get away with more than the average 일병(신)

        • Brett

          They are entertainers even during service… No one thinks of these guys as real soldiers.

          If you want them to stop getting privileges, than stop giving them privileges (like allowing their sponsors to pay them for being on a TV season when they should be guarding the border).

          The people do this to themselves and then get frustrated when it backfires.

      • pingu777

        So does that mean all soldiers can violate the rules like this or only some?

        • Brett

          As long as they don’t get caught.

          • pingu777

            So it’s not illegal as long as you don’t get caught?

          • Brett

            Are you testing my morals or something?

            Realistically, a better question is: If you don’t get caught, do you get in trouble?

          • pingu777

            What I’m saying is even if you don’t get caught you shouldn’t do it.

    • commander

      The misdeed at the center of simmering controversy is that they went there possibly during on duty period, not furlough, in plain clothes, which is inconceivable in ordinary cases.

      And even if many soldiers on leave went to what is called message parlors for buying sex, they shouldn’t go beause the status of celebeity give them money and some fame, forcing them to abide by law.

      This is more understandable when it is compared to different ripple effects from drunken driving by celebrities and ordinaru persons.

      Driving under intoxication as such breaks the law, but celebrities often face bigger aftermath including scathing public condemnation and forced seclusion from TV appearances for soul searching.

      Entertainers, civilians or soldiers, live on public popularity,and watch out their behaviors–much more especially when it comes to toucjy issues like military service.

      • Brett

        They should always be conscious of their fame and how it will most likely (did this time) get them into trouble. But, almost 2 years with no chance to get laid makes men think with their little head. It’s a recipe for scandal.

        • commander

          We need yo break away from the fixed idea that taking a break from two years of seclusion from exchanges with people requires visits to erotic massage parlors.

          There are many alternavtives to unleashing pent-up stress.

          • Brett

            IMO, it’s better than those “training deaths”, which are just another way of saying “a cadet lost his cool and murdered his troop”.

    • x1sfg

      You obviously never served in any military. Not that I approve of it, but go to Pattaya, PI, Guam, LATAM, Europe. You’ll see Americans, Brits, and Aussies doing the same thing.

      Is it illegal for us? Yes. But it’s often overlooked.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Listen up you people: it ain’t gonna suck itself now is it?

  • Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    GJ Korea using comfort women

    • jmbb

      Its ok though, they are Korean men. Shhh don’t talk about it.

  • dissCat

    I think the game card references all three of them – plus it looks like the names got mixed up in this article

  • Mack

    Two “entertainment soldiers”, known to be singers Rain and Sangchu

    Correction: Seven and Sangchu

    • YourSupremeCommander

      correction: Snow & Haachoo

  • yz

    Why can’t they just get rid of this celebrity soldier rubbish? It’s unfair towards all the other people in the army and it doesn’t make any sense how celebrities get away with whatever they do there. They should treat se7en’s and sangchu’s case the same as any other soldier’s in my opinion. Besides if a war were to break out these celebs would have to serve the country anyway regardless what status they have.. thus it ultimately should be removed

    • pingu777

      If war breaks out you can bet your ass they’ll be first people to defect.

    • x1sfg

      It’s called favoritism, and it’s in almost organization in the world.

  • commander

    As an able-bodied man who completed the military service at the front line in Gangwon Province, east of Seoul, I want to say that for rank and file active soldiers or those finished thr military serivce under harsh conditions, including physical labor involved in maintenance of military bases and field outposts, not to mention strenuous duties of guarding posts and patrolling at night and field training across mountains, the obvious preferential treatment of celebrity soldiers generates a sense of deprivation, and incongruousness.

    Allowing them to go on longer leave and use mobile phones to contact family and friends is priviledges that ordinary soldiers cannot savor. Although there might be tight schedule for entertaining soldiers, but front line soldiers arguably suffer more huge psychological stress as well as physical strains from constant vigility and strict military discipline.

    Furthermore, deserting where a soldier is supposed to stay is a grave violation carrying harsh punishment, which is not the case for entertaing soldiers.

    Plus,if allegations of visits to massage parlors by entertaining soldiers prove true , who could believe the claim that they went there for physical therapy? A speculation is growing that they might engage in sexual activity at messaging facilities, which are often considered as a cover for illegal prostitution in South Korea.

    If this is the case, those soldiers involved should be under probe over whether they contravene anti-prostitution law, which seems to be a remote possibility for now given special privileges.

    Major broadcaster MBC is airing the entertaining program “I am a real guy” where some celebrities undergo military life together with active soldiers, drawing popularity by evoking nostalgia among Korean men who served in the military.

    The broadcasting appears to suit the taste of the defense ministry which I guess view the program as polishing its image that has been depicted as authoritarian in connection with former military dictatorships, and rigid, outdated as it has failed to keeep abreas of fast changing external environments.

    But what appears to be lost on the defense ministry is that tightening military discipline for celebrity soldiers is one hundred times more effective in sprucing up its image for the public than helping a TV reality program that depicts the process of cameraderie building in highly choregrahped transcripts.

    The latest scandal involving entertaining soldiers raise tye important question: Who will protect the rights of rank and file soldies who protect people?

    • commander

      I have a question. Is Sunna Park, author of the posting is the same person who appears on a TBS eFM morning program? Is there anyone who know if it is true?

  • Mike

    I really can’t wait to see the excuse they come up with after the investigation is over it’s going to be so good! “eat popcorn”

  • chucky3176

    This is off topic for a moment, but I think what the next topic at Kbang will be.

    English Teachers abusing Korean whore, behaving badly in Korean nightclub.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=159783374204781

    It’s going around and around Korean internet. This is only going to spark more flames.

    • Paul M

      Yes, it’s good to see that all these laws and regulations that have been put in place have done absolutely nothing to prevent scumbags from coming over. How about a measured and reasoned response from the Korean public and government that will actually address the problem – I can always live in hope.

      • chucky3176

        nyuk nyuk nyuk… hold your thoughts and save it for the topic to come up…. lol…

        • Paul M

          Well there’s something we can both look forward to. You – a news story about some sleazy assholes. Me – a measured and reasoned response from the Korean public and government. Now who do you think is going to wait the longest?

    • commander

      The root problem with the abuse incident lies in the nation’s obsession with English fluency that appears to verge on a kind worship.

      I heaed many unqualified English-speaking foreigners think that doing some English lessons at hakwon, private English academies that can be found almost everywhere, will bring good money, and relations with Korean girls who they hear from their sources are friendly or have some fantasy to westerners.

      The English education craze that is still raging on set the stage for some criminally-motivated foreigners to tarnish the entire image of others who have stayed here because of their attractions they feel from dynamic Korea.

      The stepped up inspection over entry by some trouble-making foreigners into the nation is not a ultimate resolution as documentation they bear could be easily doctored with the help of brokers.

      It is necessary to strengthen the requirements of licenses for establishing hakwons, thus holding founders accountable for any forgery that is made for ineligible English speakers they hire.

      P.S. Although chukey predict this incident will be dealt with an upcoming posting, it might be unlikely since there is no Korean media reports of it given KBang postings are based on translation of Korean news articles.

  • commander

    In what might turn out to be my wild guess, celebrity soldiers involved will not be under any investigation by prosecutors over possible prostitution charges for the time being as the present political arena already have enough controversies such as the spy agency’s alleged election meddling, the alleged controversial remarks by former president Roh on a maritime border, and ensuing the declassification of a 2007 inter Korean summit transcript, the stalled industrial park at the border city of Kaesong.

    The scandal involving some entertaining soldiers has come at the perfect timing in that a combustible political confrontation forces the prosecution to put a narrower focus on high profile cases like visits by those soldiers to massage parlors which only have ar best secondary importance.

    There is slim chances of prosecutorial probe into a case implicating celebrity soldiers until the currenct political turmoil dies down.

  • KCdude

    South Korean military: proudly defend the nation and make worse image to the public

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  • Ryn Lexa

    Yoochun got a severe asthma since he was 9 tho…if he wanted to escape army he wouldnt give up his american citizenship and done a health retest 3 times..

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