Hundreds of men give up nationality to avoid military service

South Korean opposition lawmaker said on Monday in Seoul that more than 16,000 South Korean men have relinquished their nationality to avoid the mandatory military service in recent years.

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Rep. Jin Sung-joon of the main opposition, New Politics Alliance for Democracy, said that a total of 4,386 men opted for foreign citizenship in 2014, up from 3,470 men in 2011.

He said the information was contained in a data of the Military Manpower Administration submitted to the National Assembly for annual audit.

Sung-joon said that in the first seven months of 2015, 2,374 men gave up their nationality to avoid military service.

He said that majority of the men became citizens of the U.S. followed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Separate data showed that nearly 1 in 10 high-ranking public officials was exempted from the military service.

Sung-joon said another data released by Rep. Baek Gun-ki of the NPAD Party, showed that a total of 2,568 out of 24,980 senior public officials working for the government and related agencies did not fulfill their military duty for various reasons.

He said it is mandatory that all able-bodied South Korean men must carry out military service for about two years.

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