Constant scandals involving celebrity recruits and their special promotional division within the South Korean military has caused the Ministry of Defense to get rid of the division.
The Ministry of Defense held a press conference on July 17 to announce the policy change. The military had been investigating the promotional department for the past two weeks and the role it played.
"The promotional department was established to promote the military and raise the morale of the troops, but due to unpleasant issues that have occurred, the military's image has been tarnished," a military spokesperson stated.
The celebrity recruit program, which was meant to boost soldiers' morale, has hurt it instead, the spokesperson said.
Celebrity soldiers and the treatment they've received by the military has been a hot topic for South Koreans for years. Scrutiny has increased in recent years due to a string of high-profile scandals, such as Rain's abuse of power and, most recently, SE7EN and Sangchu's visit to an adult massage parlor.
"The public's faith is important, but due to various problems with the [promotional department], we have only lost it instead of promoting the military," the spokesperson said.
There are currently 15 celebrity soldiers in the military. Eight of them will be receiving punishment for their behavior and actions. The names of those being punished were not released.
Three of celebrity soldiers who have three months left in the military will reassigned to an active duty unit and will be treated like an ordinary soldier. The others will be reassigned on August 1st.
The celebrity recruit program was established in 1997. Celebrity soldiers regularly received special treatment and generally had an easier time compared to regular soldiers.
"We are sorry for causing citizens distress because of celebrity soldiers' activities. We realize we must take responsibility for not adequately managing them," the spokesperson said.
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