Suicides fuel military concerns in S Korea

2014-08-12 16:02
South Korean soldiers take a position during an anti-terror drill. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

South Korean soldiers take a position during an anti-terror drill. (Jung Yeon-Je, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - The South Korean military said on Tuesday that two conscripts were found dead in an apparent suicide, the latest in a series of incidents fuelling concern over young soldiers serving in isolated frontline units.

The two unnamed corporals, who were both in their early 20s, were found hanged at one of their homes while on leave, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

Both men were in the 28th infantry division serving near the border with North Korea and had been placed on a list of soldiers requiring special monitoring due to concerns over their mental stability, he said.

One of them was deemed unfit to serve last year but continued at the request of his mother, the spokesperson said.

The soldier had attempted suicide last October, Yonhap news agency said.

Investigations are under way on whether the two corporals were targets of bullying.

Five soldiers in the same division were arrested last month on manslaughter charges over the death of a 23-year-old private.

An enquiry showed the private had been regularly bullied and physically abused. He died during one beating when he was struck in the chest and a chunk of food became lodged in his airway.

In June, a 22-year-old sergeant opened fire on his barrack mates, killing five and wounding seven.

The sergeant, also listed as a soldier requiring special observation later told investigators that he had been humiliated and constantly mocked.

Two army privates from the same division also listed as mentally vulnerable, committed suicide later in the same month.

Last week, all military servicemen halted their regular duties to take part in a day-long "moral education workshop" aimed at stamping out bullying.

The South's armed forces rely heavily on a compulsory military service system, with conscripts, most in their early 20s accounting for the lion's share of its 690 000 active personnel.

The number of suicides in the military steadily rose from 67 in 2004 to 97 in 2011 before falling to 79 by 2013.

The current rate stands at a little over 11 per 100 000 which, the defence ministry notes, is lower than the national average of 23.5 suicides per 100 000 for South Korean men aged 20 to 29.

Read more on:    south korea

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.