The police force of Korea revealed some surprising news today, according to a report by Yonhap News.
It was stated that the police will be doing away with conscripted police officers (people who fulfill their military duty by serving as a police officer). Although the end goal is to end the conscripted police service by 2023, starting in 2018, no celebrities will be accepted as conscripted police officers at all.
The move appears to be a reaction to criticism after the recent drug scandal of BIGBANG member T.O.P who was serving as a police officer when he was found to have used marijuana in the past.
To be fair, the public has always had an issue with celebrities serving as police officers instead of active duty soldiers. Regardless of whether a star has had known health issues that rendered him unable to serve in the military, whenever a celebrity does fulfill their military service through the police, the public always suspects them of trying to avoid their time in the military by choosing an “easier” route and even faking health issues to avoid active duty. This is in spite of the fact that non-celebrities are also able to serve as police officers as well.
Starting in 2018, conscripted policemen will begin to be phased out little by little, doing away with the program completely in 2023 (as seen in the chart below). Although the goal is to get rid of conscripted policemen altogether, the police force is undoubtedly making a statement by singling out celebrities and enforcing a strict “no-celebrity” rule starting in the coming year.
While the move definitely seems to be an effort to appease the public’s outrage after T.O.P’s recent news, it does bring up a lot of questions as well. What qualifies as a celebrity? Is it someone who is only active now or someone who used to be active as well? Would former child actors and singers be disqualified? Would former idol trainees be disqualified as well? Where will the police draw the line? In addition, where will this leave people who are physically unfit to serve as active duty soldiers?
Although some people find the decision to be hasty, the overwhelming response has been positive so far. In fact, some Kpop fans are even relieved since past idols and actors have been criticized for serving as police officers instead of as active duty soldiers.
While details are not immediately forthcoming about specifics, it’s definitely big news that no celebrities will be allowed to enlist as conscripted policemen after this year.
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