On August 17, Judge Yoon at Seoul Southern District Court found Mr. Han guilty of attempting to avoid mandatory military service by damaging his own body. Thus, he was sentenced to 8 months of imprisonment in addition to 2 years of probation.
According to the court, Mr. Han got his first tattoo at the age of 14 in 2011. He had a person's face on his left side of his chest and arm, as well as a dragon on his right side of his chest and arm.
In 2013, he decided to get his entire back area done with a dragon tattoo. The following year in 2014, he got a tattoo of a tiger lurking inside a deep forest going across his stomach and a serpent wrapping around both his legs. Towards the end of 2015, Mr. Han was completely covered in tattoos.
In November of 2016, Mr. Han went in for his physical examination at the Seoul Regional Military Manpower Administration Office.
Military officials gave Han a grade-4 due to his full body tattoo and he was enlisted as a social service worker instead. However, the officials, who found his tattoos suspicious, contacted police for further investigation on Mr. Han's case.
During the investigation, Mr. Han confessed to hearing about people receiving military exemptions from full body tattoos.
Judge Yoon stated, "It appears Mr. Han did not initially have intentions to avoid the military service by getting tattoos. He started getting tattoos during junior high school and decided to get additional work done before his physical examination. Upon receiving a grade-4, he was stationed as a social service worker, which was taken into consideration when determining his sentence."
According to the MMA, 35 out of 165 cases involving military exemption attempts from April 2012 to May 2017 regarded tattoos.