Seoul mayor's son thrown in spotlight for conscription exemption

Seoul mayor's son thrown in spotlight for conscription exemption
Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon's (C) son was exempted from mandatory military service.

The head of the conscription agency said on Monday that the decision to exempt Seoul mayor Park Won-soon's son from mandatory military service was lawful, denying allegations that he had fabricated medical records during the army heath checkup to evade enrollment.

Park's son was thrown back into the spotlight after a local broadcaster reported that a lawsuit filed by a group of 1,000 citizens remains pending against the son, who they claimed allegedly submitted someone else's X-rays photos to get exempted. The son had faced a similar lawsuit in 2013 but was acquitted.

"Our decision on (Park's son) is lawful. I can tell you for sure," said Park Chang-myung, commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration. He also confirmed that the Magnetic Resonance Imaging films are those of Park's son.

Lawmakers also clashed over the allegation. The ruling Saenuri Party urged Park's son to testify before a court to clear the charges, while the main opposition New Political Alliance for Democracy labelled the call as a smear campaign to tarnish Park, who leads the polls among opposition presidential hopefuls.

Seoul City authorities described the news report as biased and filed a lawsuit against the broadcaster. A Seoul City senior official said in a news conference that the programme intentionally left out the prosecutors' decision to acquit Park's son of the allegation that he violated the military service law.

Park, for his part, vowed to fight back against the accusation and urged the public to support his claim.

"I can exercise tolerance toward whom I can protect," said Park on his Facebook account. "Authorities have already confirmed that the allegation is unfounded. I need the public to tell the truth," said Park.

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