Sons of Korean Elite Renounce Citizenship to Avoid Military Service

Article from Yonhap News:

18 sons of high-ranking public officials renounced their citizenship to avoid mandatory military duty.

South Korean Military Service

Among sons of highly ranked public officials currently at post in the executive and judicial branches it appears that 18 people gave up their Korean citizenship and acquired a foreign citizenship in order to avoid their military obligations.

Congressman Ahn Gyu-baek, member of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) said that according to data from the Military Manpower Administration dated 15th of September, among the sons of currently serving high-ranking public officials (rank 4 or higher), 18 were deleted from the military records for “renunciation of one’s nationality” or “loss of nationality”.

In particular, it was pointed out that both sons of an official from the Ministry of Science, IT, and Future Planning skirted their military duties by acquiring Canadian citizenship. The remaining 16 renounced their Korean nationality by acquiring the U.S. citizenship.

For the last 3 years, we count an increase in the number of similar cases of people who were deleted from military records through renunciation or loss of nationality.

In 2012, the number of people skirting their military obligations through renunciation or loss of nationality amounted to 2,842; the next year it increased to 3,075, and last year it rose sharply to 4,386. This year from January to July, the number reached 2,374.

On the contrary, there are also people with permanent residency cards in foreign countries who do not have to fulfill any military obligation, but wish however to join the army to put their patriotic sentiment in action.

In 2011, people residing abroad who wished to enroll voluntarily rose from 200 in 2011 to double that in only 3 years, 436 people last year. For the months of January to July this year, the number of such people already reaches 316.

But independent of the year, among the sons of high-ranking officials who are residing abroad, a mere 4 have enrolled voluntarily.

For those who have been judged inept for military service during their medical examination for conscription through having a level 4 illness (reservist duty) or level 5 illness (exemption), the number of people recovering from their illness and enrolling voluntarily for active service was 227 last year and is 123 for this year up to July.

Concerning sons of officials in the executive and judicial branch, we count 10 such cases in total.

Among those are 3 people currently working as judges who had illnesses, and in spite of the fact they could avoid active duty they treated their illnesses and joined voluntarily.

According to Congressman Ahn Gyu-baek, “Those are only isolated cases but there are public officials that are good examples by fulfilling their military obligations” and added that, “[those who purposely avoid military service] should be criticized and there should be strict measures against those various methods of evasion in the case of high-ranking officials.”

Comments from Naver:


Let us know the names of those people. Now the nation will judge them.


Seriously, if you do not fulfill your military service you should not be appointed for public office. They cannot take care of themselves how can they take care of the country? If you treat your illness or change your citizenship to get enlisted voluntarily, they should immediately pass you when you take the exam for public office. It’s the only way to be an upright nation.


Phew…….. sighhh……


People like that should not be able to set foot in the country again like Yoo Seung-jun no matter what. Those guys with a foreign ID should not be able to live grandly here on the taxpayers’ money.


Make it so that once you dump your citizenship you can’t get it back to be a politician later.


Tell us the name of those bastards. Ban all of them and make them not able to come back in the country anymore.


Reveal their identities and fire them.


Who would want to go to the military when the higher-ups are like that?


What about the monkey [Seoul mayor Park Won-soon]… His son and himself, none of them went…


Their identities should be revealed.


This is not a country where their children will live… Why would they take good care of this country?


I honestly just want to beat them to death.


Those jerks who do not want to do the military service should just leave Korea.


18 sons of high-ranking officials… Abandoning their nationality to avoid military service… The sons are a problem but the parents are a bigger problem.


I think for civil servants and public company workers the hiring standard should be to have to have done military service. When those who have not done their military duty talk about national policies, it really makes me laugh.

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  • Claude

    Sell out young.

  • Realist

    Ladies, when you’re dating a guy, be sure to ask him, “Oppa, tell me about all the brave things you did in the military! Let’s hang out with all the friends you made there!” If he can’t produce anything, dump the coward.

    • B

      What brave things? Most of them just eat ramen out of the toilet and bully each other. It’s a like a school for dumb people.

      • NondescriptRG

        In Russia there is a saying “army is just like a kindergarten, only with big balls”.

  • Korea

    Serving Military need to change. Plus South Korea Government seriously need to think Korean Unification with North.

    • Starbucks Coffee

      Korean nationality should be revised so any overseas Korean who acquired foreign nationality in whatever way, so long as he fulfills his military obligation keeps his Korean nationality. Those who lost it under the older laws should have it reinstated as if never lost. By going to the embassy and reporting for duty they should have their citizenship automatically reinstated for life. Regardless of how many passports such a person has, such a person has shown their loyalist by proving it with their military service. A person who is in a pisition where he can avoid it but nonetheless chooses to serve is more Korean than Koreans who served without a choice.

  • Small twon

    As usual, 10% are same everywhere. Cheat their life on the expense of other citizens. Look at the us military, they are dying to protect asset of their 10%.

  • bigmamat

    Let’s be real here. If the conscription weren’t so damned restrictive then the problem wouldn’t be so bad. After boot camp conscripts should be given more freedom. Why is it necessary to lock them away with no cell phones or weekend leave? It’s more like a prison sentence than an opportunity to serve your country. Other than that there is the bullying and boredom that you hear so many complain about it’s no wonder people aren’t eager to serve. The government is already requiring it’s young men to put their lives on hold for 2 years the least they can do is not torture them in the process.

  • Busan

    Stop political brainwashing game. Korean Education system, Korean Military system need to change. People are getting sick and tired.

  • NondescriptRG

    Wow, so much patriotic zeal in those Naver comments. They’d better put their mouths to use by calling for the total discontinuation of compulsory service. Which is nothing but wasting young guys’ lives to prepare them to die for some rich bastard’s precious capital.

    • J. Won

      They are the ones who served the army otherwise they wouldn’t talk like that, and as you might know anyone who served are above who didn’t. You better check yourself in the mirror before you talk like that.

      • pat

        This kind of mindless “joiner” culture is what makes North Korea what it is… unquestioning obedience and attacking anyone else for not conforming. South Korea is just a different kind of repression.

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    It’s probably for the best. The transition will be so jarring they’ll probably trip on a mine and won’t even realize it until the kaboom

  • KoreanPeninsula

    Tired of political fighting between North and South. Korean Peninsula and Koreans are losing the most.

  • rich carter

    korean military is no place for americanized koreans. the restrictions and limitations that are placed on their lives for the next 22 months will be unlike anything they have experienced. my father was an elite of korean society who worked as an executive at hyundai and later went into politics. i had a us green card and had a life in the states but had to join the ROK military at 30 because of his political career. korean military life is much worse than what the us military guys go through. unless you get sent to some war zone in afghanistan or iraq a typical us military guy couldn’t stand a week of life in the korean military. i remember back in 2011 when there were 3 separate high profile cases of us military men raping korean civilian women. i was talking to this one us military guy who was stationed at dongdoochun and he was complaining about the temporary curfew and restriction that was placed on the us military personell as a result of these incidents. i told him the kind of conditions that us korean soldiers had to serve under and he asked how i could deal with it without blowing my brains out.if us soldiers had to deal with what we had to deal with the suicide rate would skyrocket.

    • BSDetector

      “a typical us military guy couldn’t stand a week of life in the korean military”

      US service members have dealt with worse things than the broom pushing, and toilet scrubbing endured in the RoK. Most would adapt and overcome; just as they’ve done in you know, real war. Something the typical RoK service member hasn’t seen in over 50 years. No that supply/medical farce the RoK had setup in Irbil doesn’t count. I spent 2 months in Chinhae with the RoK Marines so I’m not going on what “one guy told me”.

      Now, shall we talk about the countless cases of Korean men raping, beating, and mentally abusing women every day? Not sure what that has to do with military service but you felt the need to bring it up… you don’t write for the Chosun Ilbo do you?

      • x1sfg

        He’s right, most US people wouldn’t stand being a ROK conscript, at least the millennial generation. I sure as hell know most my sof brethren would’ve flipped shit

        • Vasilios81

          But it isnt about some tough grueling duties that make it hard. Most Korean guys don’t come out of the ROK especially tough. ( a few do though).

          It’s the batshit insane culture of “punching down” carried out by nearly all officers in a cycle of punishment for pleasure throughout the entire 22 months . while realizing you are a being trained to be a hopeless slave for the rest of your life and your girlfriend is banging other dudes weekly and knowing if you were a member of the elite you could just shirk your duty and get on with your life.

    • x1sfg

      I’ve been in two wars and have worked with the ROKs. I would rather be in theater than in Garrison as a rok conscript.

      • Starbucks Coffee

        Right so any Korean who is willing to do this and return should be entitled to full citizenship for life.

  • Cheriemartyr

    Their turning like the illegal state of Israel. … Whatever happened to the Samsung vs Jews incident ? Why force citizens to join the army wtf?

    • BSDetector

      Well it’s reasonable to have mandatory service in Israel what with so many of their neighbors being untrustworthy jackals.

      • Cheriemartyr

        You mean their neighbors defending themselves from Israel’s mercenaries aka US and NATO lol. Korea is backed by the US even though they’re capable of defending themselves, also there won’t be a NK vs SK it’s just to fool the dumb masses. You skipped that part about Samsung lol..

        • Disqus

          cherry, are you fool or dumb ass?

          • David

            And the answer to both questions is “Yes”.

          • PeninsulaPride

            Cherry, go eat yourself.

          • Cheriemartyr

            Aww… But, but, weren’t you Koreans called “anti semetic” because you refused to fucking give 90% of Samsung to the kike? I’m pretty pro if you ask me peasant.

          • PeninsulaPride

            Cherry, go eat yourself.

          • Cheriemartyr

            Why don’t you eat shit or maybe dog, cats, and even people heard you we’re canibals as well. Lol.

          • PeninsulaPride

            Cherry, shit eater.

          • Cheriemartyr

            Your mother is. Quiet peasant.

          • Korea

            Your mother should know as quiet peasant.

          • Cheriemartyr

            Stop copying and look outside your ass little rat.

          • In4o

            Cherry, little cherry ass hat.

          • Cheriemartyr

            Do something productive with your pathetic life parasite. South Korea is a slave, deal with it.

          • In4o

            Do not describe yourself. Cherry Ass Hat.

          • Jonsey

            You have a complete lack of understanding in regards to the merger that Elliot holdings tried to stop. At no time were they trying to get 90% of anything. The only people who will benefit from the merger in the long term is the Lee family. Korea has one of the worst coporate governance systems on earth and is on par with developing nations in that respect.
            The anti-semetism claims came about because of the smear campaign run by Samsung affiliates and other easily led people, using the old long nose greedy shylock image of Jews.

          • Cheriemartyr

            No, I agree that the Koreans have fucked up laws, but they’re correct this time to protect what’s theirs and that’s Samsung. Why would they let a foreigner controls its business? Jews don’t let others, take any company over in their illegal state in Tel Aviv lmao. In fact in my country France a men tried to make a decent phone company because it was tired of the companies owned by Jews so he made his own, here comes the Jews wanting to own the company the men refused to hand over his company and Jews screamed “anti semetic” lol. You’re a good GOYIM.

          • pat

            How’s that 25% youth unemployment rate working out for you?

          • Cheriemartyr

            Maybe you’re shill.

        • David

          Only a troll would come on to a Korea discussion website to bitch about Israel.

          • Cheriemartyr

            “Troll” maybe because I’m baffled Koreabang didn’t discuss about the Samsung vs the Jews incident. Get over yourself, and fuck Israel the most criminal state.

  • Papi

    As long as these guys are planning on staying away from Korea for good then there’s no problem. Sadly that doesn’t always happen, I know of a family that emmigrated to Canada to avoid their son (who was terribly socially inept) having to do his service.
    It backfired when their idiot son took a knife to school and stabbed one of the younger kids, back on the plane to Korea they had to go. Now their son is 40, unemployable and viewed by the local ladies as less than a man for his cowardice. Local dudes who did do their service (which is no joke, remember only 2 months ago war seemed possible) are unimpressed with this guys claims to be a ‘sentry’ due to his ‘internet patriotism’. It’s a sad tale all round.

  • SeoulKorea

    Serving Korean military is only way for Koreans to become Korean to work and live in South Korea. South Korea is really sad place to be.

  • ProfessorBaek

    Reality: Korean Military is poor class killing off Rich and Middle class rich people trapping them in military system. They know they do not have power and freedom to move around. If you think your joining to defend South Korea from North Korea military. You are dead WRONG!!!!!!!! ( Defending and Discipline) you do not learn in Korean military. You become young punk thug after you serve Korean military. That is end conclusion. If you are Korean American with green card. Smart choice to become American citizens. Korean Pride can be serve much more smarter way instead joining Korean military. It is ” System” at fault like Korean education ” system”.

  • Koreanic

    Do not serve South Korea military. Wasting your time.

  • KoreanicPeninsula

    민족 끼리 전쟁이 자랑인지??? 그 력해 대한민국 군대 가는개 자랑이냐??? 70년 동안 북한 는 바보 천재이고, 대한민국 정부 는 70년 동안 통일 생각헀냐??????

  • J. Won

    Korea military aren’t for americanized/whitewashed [email protected] who gave up Korean citizenship and think they know everything about it through some negative news that pops up on the internet. At least have some honor as a Korean and not a wannabe.

  • Smith_90125

    Here’s a simple solution guaranteed to work for the Korean military:

    Stop the physical, mental and sexual abuses that it encourages and rewards.

    When people aren’t worried about being beaten up, tortured, raped or mentally abused by gangs of other soldiers on orders from their “superiors”, people won’t be afraid of joining.

  • Alex

    In the midst of all this, the funny thing is that many people don’t actually seem to know that the South Korean military has actually been DOWNSIZING since the past 10 years.

    In 2005, they had as many as 690,000 troops on active duty, and it’s gone down to 630,000 in recent times. A lot of divisions and brigades – both reserve and active – have been disbanded or merged with other units. The Army has almost 500,000 troops, but going by how the long-term defense reforms state, it plans to reduce it down to 387,000 troops.

    The Army in particular, is over-sized. hence why it makes any kind of reform benefiting the well-being of troops an immensely difficult task to accomplish. It wasn’t even until recently when barracks began to be provided actual beds, modern plate carriers with MOLLE, hotlines for troops that need help and so on.

  • AskKorean

    All Korean or Korean American Green card holders. It it time for you become American citizenship. This is what it means.

  • mike

    These spoiled people who contribute nothing to Korea now hold citizenship in my country and will likely contribute nothing to it as well.

    • pat

      Contribute? It is 2 years of prison and abuse.

      I notice the people that moan about others “contributing” are the ones that want others to give them free stuff and do things for them.

  • pat

    2 years of the best years of its men’s lives wasted, and you have to tax the rest of the population to pay for it – that’s at least 5% of GDP lost a year. Wasting your people’s lives as cannon fodder is for undeveloped nations… developed nations win wars with technology and capital.

  • Starry Night

    I mean…if you were living next door to a country like North Korea you’d want a decent miltary too. I’m just glad I’m an Australian and a female >___< I feel bad that guys have to take on this burdern.

  • Starbucks Coffee

    I think the fair and honest thing to do is to revise the Korean nationality law to allow any Korean who naturalized abroad and obtained foreign nationality even prior to the nationality law revision who didn’t have a chance to submit their intention to retain Korean nationality by age 23, to nonetheless have it reinstated as if it was not lost by reporting to the embassy or back to Korea to restore Korean nationality in exchange for reporting to service. I think any Korean would accept that such a person deserves to stay Korean if they do wish to. There are many who were grandfathered negatively and were not able to have their citizenship restored but would have liked to. Also as an incentive, let those who come back faithfully to Korea to serve from overseas retain lifetime dual citizenship since such a person has shown their loyalty to Korea by their military service. Be strict on those who chose to avoid military service but let all overseas Korean who will willingly serve have their citizenship reinstated for life. Let ethnic Koreans be Korean rather than naturalizing other non ethnic Koreans to Korean nationality.

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