South Korean youth acquitted after being accused of eating fried chicken to gain weight to avoid conscription

He was also accused of making himself shorter.

Matthias Ang | April 18, 02:32 pm


A 22-year-old South Korean man was acquitted on April 14 after he was accused of breaking the conscription law via eating fried chicken, The Korea Herald reported.

The man had apparently avoided mandatory military service by eating fried chicken to put on weight.


At the time of his physical examination for military service in August 2016, the man was reported to have weighed 106kg, with a height of 169.6cm and a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 36.8.

Under South Korean law, people with a BMI of 33 and higher can be exempted from full-time military service, and work in the public service, a less physically demanding alternative.

Further accused of making himself shorter

In their case against the man, prosecutors accused him of deliberately gaining weight by eating fried chicken and drinking alcohol ahead of his physical examination, The Korea Herald highlighted.

He was further accused of stooping while his height was measured, as part of his bid to avoid conscription.

Man said he has been overweight for a long time

In response, the man said he did not stoop while his height was measured and that he had been overweight for a long time.

The judge subsequently ruled in his favour, noting that he had been obese since the age of 10.

The judge also found it hard to conclude that he had deliberately gained weight, given that he already weighed 102kg when he was a junior in high school (that is, his second year in high school).

Moreover, there was also no evidence that the man had taken medication or supplements to quickly gain weight.

Others have tried such a method

Previously in March 2018, another South Korean man was found guilty of deliberately putting on weight to evade conscription, The Korea Times reported.

He was handed a suspended prison term.

Initially, the 180cm man was reported to have only weighed 87kg during his graduation from high school in February 2016.

A physical examination in July then revealed that his weight had increased by about 27kg, to 113.6kg, putting his BMI at 36.1.

This led to his assignment to the public service instead, until police investigations found that his weight gain was intentionally done to evade duty.

Under South Korean law, a person who flees, causes self-injury or cheats to avoid military service could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Top image from Wikimedia Commons

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