According to official reports made by the Seoul Newspaper, a Korean man in his 20’s has been sentenced to prison for evading his mandatory military service. It was reported that Mr. A weighed in at 49.2 kg (108 lbs) with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 17.3 at his first military service test. His first service test was back in June 2016 and at that time, he was qualified to serve as an active duty soldier because his BMI exceeded 17. The military has since changed their rules and the minimum BMI accepted is now 16.
The problem arose a few months later in October 2016 when Mr. A completed his second military service test. This time, Mr. A weighed in at 46.4 kg (102 lbs,) which meant that his BMI was recorded at 16.4. Since his BMI was below the minimum of 17, he was now classified as a grade 4 social worker instead of an active duty soldier. This meant that he was exempt from having to serve his mandatory military service.
However, this became a problem when the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) investigated the case due to the unnatural weight loss exhibited in Mr.A. After conducting another military service test in August of 2018, Mr. A’s weight was recorded at 50.4 kg (111 lbs) with a BMI of 17.7, which confirmed MMA’s suspicions that Mr. A had deliberately lost the weight to evade his service. This information was revealed during his first trial, when he was charged with violating the Military Service Act.
Mr. A’s BMI exceeded 17 all throughout his high school years. He deliberately lost the weight in order to change his military service grade. We have text messages as proof of evidence.
— Daejeon District Court
The prosecution asked that Mr. A be sentenced to prison for 6 months, as well as 2 years of probation. However, Mr. A appealed his sentence by stating that his weight loss was unintentional due to his part-time job.
I began working part-time at night, so I naturally lost the weight.
— Mr. A
Despite his appeal, the Daejeon District Court maintained the prosecution’s original sentence and stated,
Mr. A lost the weight after learning that he could serve as a grade 4 social worker. His BMI only temporarily went below the minimum requirement of 17 following his first examination.
— Daejeon District Court
In regards to his sentence, the court ruled that “the defendant was skinnier and weighed less than usual. Due to these facts, the sentence is appropriate in light of his deception against the military service administration.”