Pop star Rain to be punished for meeting actress
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2011 file photo, South Korean pop singer Rain gives a military salute to his fans before he enters the army to serve in front of an army training center in Uijeongbu, north of of Seoul, South Korea. Rain is in trouble after paparazzi photos showed him secretly dating a top actress. Seoul’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2012 it is investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man, File)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean military will punish pop star Rain for meeting with a top actress while on duty during his mandatory military service, the Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Paparazzi photos showing Rain meeting with Kim Tae-hee have raised suspicions that highly sought-after entertainers may be receiving special favors during their military service. The ministry denies Rain has received special treatment.
Rain, an "entertainment soldier," however, broke rules by meeting with Kim at least three times late last year despite being on duty, ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. Rain is not allowed to have such private meetings while outside his base for official duties like recording and performing.
FILE - In this May 26, 2005 file photo, South Korean actress Kim Tae-hee participates in a fashion show held by South Korean apparel maker Shinwon company in the inter-Korean industrial park in Kaesong, just a few hundred meters (yards) north of the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone that divides the Korean peninsula. South Korean pop star Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with Kim. Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 it is investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting the actress while on duty. (AP Photo/Lee Jae-Won, Pool, File)
Spokesman Kim said a ministry committee will meet next week to decide the punishment. He said it was unlikely to be detention in a military jail, one of the more serious penalties for South Korean soldiers that can delay their discharge.
Military service is a sensitive issue. All able-bodied South Korean men must serve about two to three years, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. Any allegations of special treatment can spark an immediate public outcry.
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2011 file photo, South Korean pop singer Rain appears to attend an event at an army training center in Uijeongbu, South Korea. Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with a top actress. Seoul's Defense Ministry said Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 it is investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty. (AP Photo/Yomnhap, Lim Byung-shick, File) KOREA OUT
"Gangnam Style" sensation PSY joined the army in 2008 to spend two years fulfilling his service after authorities found he had abused a law allowing him to serve in a private company instead of a military outfit.