If I had to pick the most raucous work in the drama industry recently, it was definitely ‘DP’ (picture)all. As the title suggests, it is a story of soldiers who catch deserters. During the Chuseok holiday, there are many people who pick it as the number one place on the ‘Jung-do list’.
This drama, made as a Netflix original, also ranked first in the popularity rankings in Thailand and Vietnam, as well as in Korea. Ironically, all countries have a conscription system. Globally, it caught the attention of viewers from all over the world by rising to the top 10 on Netflix.
In the drama, most of the deserters are brought back to the unit (there are cases where this is not the case, but it is omitted because it is a spoiler). But reality is not a drama. Soldiers who do not return, still exist.
9 soldiers who haven’t returned in over 5 years
According to data obtained through the military by Yoo Sang-beom’s Office of People’s Power on the 20th, there are a total of nine long-term military defectors who have deserted for more than five years as of last month. Of these, five have not returned to the military for more than 10 years.
In more than half of cases, the reason for the departure of long-term deserters from military service is not yet known. The majority are unidentified (5 people). It is difficult for the remaining long-term deserters to understand the reason for their resignation. Maladjustment to military service (estimated 3 persons) and home environment (estimated 1 person). The longest period of desertion was found to be unknown for 18 years and 5 months.
Wanted until the age of 45
If so, how long will the long-term deserters be pursued? According to the Military Criminal Act, the statute of limitations for desertion (dismissal from military service) is 10 years (if you deserted before December 21, 2007, before the amendment, 7 years is applied).
But that’s not all. This is because each military issues an order to return to military service every three years. This means that the offense of violating orders under the Military Criminal Act is regularly applied anew. The statute of limitations for violations of orders is 5 years (3 years before the amendment). If you are over the age of 40, when you are no longer obligated to do military service, you become immune, but as long as you have been ordered to return, you are virtually wanted until you turn 45.
Declining number of deserters every year
The number of deserters exceeds 100 every year. According to the data provided by Rep. Yoo’s office, a total of 521 deserters left the military service from 2017 to August of this year. As for the reason, 50.6% of them did not adapt to the service (264 people), which is more than half. Economic problems (59 people) follow with 11.3%. It was found that there were also cases of desertion due to fear of punishment (57 people), pessimists for personal health (31 people), and problems with the opposite sex (28 people).
However, as time goes by, the number of deserters is decreasing every year. ‘2017 (150 people) → 2018 (127 people) → 2019 (106 people) → 2020 (89 people)’ is a decreasing trend. From January of this year to last month, the total number of soldiers who deserted in the army, navy, air force, and marine corps was 49. Compared to the same period of the previous year and the monthly average, it decreased.
It is analyzed that permission to use cell phones after work has had an impact on the enlisted soldiers. A lawyer in Seocho-dong, who served as the chief of the military court and the head of the Justice Department, said, “The atmosphere of frequent contact with family members and informing them about military life will greatly reduce irrationality and violence in the military.” Meanwhile, the DP position will be abolished in July next year due to the revision of the Military Court Act.
By Ahn Hyo-joo, staff reporter hankyung.com
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