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Four men wrongfully conscripted due to error in physical examinations: reportBy Yoon Min-sik
Published : July 10, 2023 - 14:50
At least four Korean men had been mistakenly conscripted into the nation's military service between 2016 and April 2022, despite having been exempt based on the results of a physical examination, local media reported Monday.
All able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve in the military for around two years. Those deemed unfit for active duty serve in alternative posts for the equivalent period.
According to the reports, physicians at the Military Manpower Administration's physical examination office cleared the four men for active service, despite not qualifying in the body mass index category -- being excessively overweight or underweight.
The MMA's regulation states that anyone with a BMI of under 17 or over 33 is not fit for active duty, and must serve alternate duties -- mostly working for public organizations.
The agency's blunder came to light in May when one of the four men could not find a uniform that fit him at the Army training center for the new recruits. Officials at the training center made an inquiry to the MMA, which then acknowledged the mistake. The conscript was sent home the next day.
Of the four cases, two, including the above-mentioned case, were sent home before they were assigned to military units. Of the remaining two, one had already completed his military duties when the mistake was discovered, while the other was nearing the end of his mandatory service period.
An official apology to the four men and their families was made by the MMA, and the agency is investigating to see if other similar errors have been made in the past. The agency is also discussing repercussions for the doctors behind the error.
The MMA also said it has implemented a system that will stop a physical examination from continuing if the physician does not check the examinee’s height and weight. It also vowed to regularly check the examination process and educate its employees to prevent such incidents from occurring in future.
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