Written by Mertice Ho

South Korea’s top court has just ruled that people can reject mandatory military service because of religious or conscience reasons. This will affect more than 900 conscientious objectors on trial, who are imprisoned for refusing to serve in the military. Most of these individuals are Jehovah’s Witnesses, who object to war and participation in the military.

Like Singaporean men, their South Korean counterparts must serve two years of conscription. However, if you are a conscientious objector in Singapore, you’re still out of luck. The Singaporean government does not recognise the right to conscientious objection, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been put in military prison for refusing to take part in NS.

South Korea’s constitutional court is giving the government one year to find alternative forms of service, such as working in prisons or fire stations. So I guess no, this is not how you chao keng.

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