Actor Song Joong Ki Begins His 21-Months Of Mandatory Service In The South Korean Army In Chuncheon
By Jesse Lent | August 27, 2013 01:56 PM EDT
Actor Song Joong Ki reported for duty on Tuesday, enlisting in the South Korean Army at the 102nd reserves in the capital city of Chuncheon.
Appearing with his hair newly cropped, in accordance with military regulation, Song showed up at the military station an hour early to say a final goodbye to fans before starting his 21-month mandatory enlistment.
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"Thank you for coming all this way," Song told the crowd of over 100 fans and members of the press, according to the website Soompi.
"Thank you for your concern."
All eligible males between the ages of 18 and 35 currently must enroll for between 21 and 24 months of army service in South Korea (the length of mandatory enrollment changes by several months depending on which branch of the military that they serve in) in a practice known as conscription.
Best known for his appearances on the Seoul Broadcasting System TV variety show "Running Man" and his role on the historical drama "Sungkyunkwan Scandal," Song will remain in Chuncheon for basic training, according to the publication eNEWS.
Earlier this month, the 27-year-old star held a farewell event for a 1,400 members of his international fan club, Ki Aile, where he tearfully read a letter bidding a fond farewell to those who have supported his career.
Song will be the first celebrity to join the army following the PR agent scandal that rocked the Ministry of Defense and led to the elimination of the Promotional Support Brigade, a longtime bastion for celebrity recruits.
Rumors that the Promotional Support Brigade allowed celebrity soldiers, enlisted as PR Agents, special treatment were confirmed when a camera crew from the news program "Scene 21" caught PR agents wandering the streets after curfew out of uniform, chatting on their cellphones and purchasing alcohol at 2 a.m.
K-pop singers Sangchu of the group Mighty Mouth and Se7en were filmed visiting a massage known for providing erotic services.
The two celebrity soldiers were sentenced to 10 days in a military prison.
"I send my wholehearted thanks to all the people who have supported and loved me and I'm apologetic that I cannot thank you all individually," Song said in an official statement last month announcing his enlistment.
"I'll complete my services for the next two years and return well. After I come back, I'll greet you all with great projects, so until then, stay healthy."
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