K-pop BTS member Suga begins mandatory military service in South Korea with fans warned not to visit

Suga, a member of K-pop supergroup BTS Credit: AP

A member of popular South Korean boy band BTS has begun his mandatory military service.

Suga, a member of the K-pop supergroup, confirmed on Friday that he has began fulfilling his mandatory military duty in a post on social media.

The 30-year-old, whose real name is Min Yoon-gi, told fans he has taken up the role as a social service agent, an alternative form of military service in the country.

His fans have also been warned not to visit Suga while he's completing his duty.

He has become the group’s third member to start their military duty, with two others, Jin and J-Hope, already carrying out service at army bases.

"I’ll faithfully serve and come back…Please stay healthy and let’s meet all again in 2025!” Suga wrote in a message posted on the online fan platform Weverse.

Suga is a member of the successful South Korean boy band BTS. Credit: AP

BTS’s management agency, Big Hit Music, said that Suga later began commuting to a workplace designated under the country’s alternative military service system.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men must serve in the army, navy or air force for 18-21 months under a conscription system established due to threats from rival North Korea.

Individuals, including Suga, who are unable to serve for physical or mental reasons can instead carry out their duties at non-military facilities such as welfare centres, community service centres and post offices for 21 months.

Local media reported Suga’s alternative service was likely related to a shoulder surgery that he underwent in 2020.

Active duty soldiers are required to begin their service with five weeks of basic military training at boot camps.

Those performing alternative service are subject to three weeks of basic military training and can choose when to take it, according to the Military Manpower Administration.

Members of South Korean K-pop band BTS (left to right): V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin, and J-Hope. Credit: AP

In a statement earlier this week, BTS’s management asked Suga fans to refrain from visiting the singer at his workplace during the period of his service.

"Please convey your warm regards and encouragement in your hearts only," Big Hit Music said.

"We ask for your continued love and support for (Suga) until he completes his service and returns."

Last year, intense public debate erupted over whether BTS members should receive special exemptions to their compulsory military duties.

But the group's management eventually said all seven members would fulfill their obligations.

South Korean law grants exemptions to athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers, if they are deemed to have enhanced the country's prestige.

K-pop singers, however, aren't eligible for the special dispensation.

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