South Korean military to dissolve ‘celebrity recruit’ unit

K-pop singer Se7en, who is currently serving as a celebrity recruit at South Korea's Defence Media Agency, reportedly visited a massage parlour after curfew in June. (Photo: Se7en's Facebook Page)
K-pop group Mighty Mouth's Sang Chu in a photo from December, 2012. (Photo: Sang Chu's Twitter @sangchukangchu)
Published: 3:24 PM, July 18, 2013
Updated: 4:00 AM, July 19, 2013

SINGAPORE – South Korea’s Ministry of Defence has announced that it will abolish its controversial ‘celebrity recruit’ unit.

The decision follows a scandal in June involving several entertainment soldiers, including Se7en and Mighty Mouth’s Sang Chu, who reportedly visited erotic massage parlours after performing at a concert hosted by the military.

“We feel a grave responsibility for the lax management of the Defense Media Agency, and decided to scrap it in light of audit results,” the defence ministry was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.

Yonhap also reported that eight soldiers will be punished for violating the code of conduct. The 15 soldiers currently under the DMA will also be reassigned to other Army units from August.

The ‘celebrity recruit’ unit was set up in 1997 to promote the image of the military, and allows celebrities to work as public relations recruits under the ministry’s Defence Media Agency (DMA) during their military service.

Unfortunately, the unit has also received criticism from the public, over allegations of special treatment for celebrity soldiers. For example, Superstar Rain was given a one-week probation earlier this year, after he was photographed on a date with actress-girlfriend Kim Tae-hee while he was off-base on official military business.