Seoul Mayor’s Son Exonerated in Military Draft Dodging Rumors

John Kim, Feb. 17, 2016, 10:12 a.m.

A local court said Wednesday that draft-dodging rumors about the son of Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon are false and handed down monetary penalties to those who spread the rumors. The Seoul Central District Court ordered Yang Seung-oh, a renowned radiologist, to pay a fine of 15 million won (US$12,200) for spreading false rumors that Park's son Ju-sin evaded mandatory military service.

The court also ordered six other defendants to pay fines, ranging from 7 million won to 15 million won, for attempting to prevent Park from winning the 2014 local election by spreading the rumors. Prosecutors had originally sought a fine of 5 million won for the 59-year-old defendant, who works at a local medical research center.

"The defendants had the intention of preventing Mayor Park from getting re-elected," the court said. After the ruling was delivered, Mayor Park's legal representative Hwang Hee-suk told reporters that they respect the court's decision. The defendants' lawyer said they will appeal the ruling to a higher court, denouncing Wednesday's ruling as nonsensical.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men must serve in the military for about two years since the country technically remains at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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