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BTS fans petition to spare K-pop group military service – but South Korean lawmaker says it’s impossible

Under South Korean law, coming first or second in an international arts competition exempts you from military service. The band have topped the US Billboard charts ... but the legislation only takes into account classical music

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2018, 8:01pm

By Jung Hae-myoung

Members of the BTS Army, the official fan club of chart-topping K-pop boy band BTS, have called for their idols to be exempt from South Korea’s mandatory military service.

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The fan club launched a petition calling for the exemption on the presidential website Cheong Wa Dae in January, but a leading South Korean lawmaker this week made it clear that it is not possible.

“I looked into [what are considered] the special cases [for an exemption from] military service, but current military law shows BTS are not qualified,” Ha Tae-kyung, of the opposition Bareunmirae Party, said.

The law states that a person who wins second place or above in an international competition in arts or athletics, affirmed by the Military Manpower Administration, can avoid military service.

But the list of qualified events is limited to classical music. The US Billboard charts, which BTS topped, are not included.

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“There are no exceptions for, for instance, B-boys, theatre plays and actors,” Ha said.

The length of compulsory military service in South Korea is around two years.

Read the full story at the Korea Times.