Korean Law Demystified!

Tidbits on Reserve Forces Training (in South Korea)


I. Intro

Reserve Forces Training is the training men (in South Korea) receive after our respective mandatory military service is over.

It’s a 3-day training we receive once every year for 6 years. FYI, I have completed all my training. (I served as an officer, so I am exempt from the civil defense training which comes after that.)

II. A Recent Case

The Seoul Central District Court found a man (age 24) guilty of cursing at the instructor (+ being disobedient) during reserve forces training. He was sentenced to 8 mos in prison (2 yrs probation). This means he won’t actually serve time in jail.

The charge and conviction was based upon the Military Criminal Act (군형법). This law can apply to civilians as well as soldiers. The 3 days during reserve forces training being a good example. (In 1999, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled that it was constitutional to apply the Military Criminal Act to reservists.)

When I went to reserve forces training, I remember they would give a brief lecture on what laws would apply to us while training. But I found it odd this lecture was given towards the end of the 3-day training. Ideally, it should be the first lecture.

DID YOU KNOW? The Seoul Naegok-dong Reserve Forces Training Shooting Spree occurred in May 2015.

III. My Thoughts

I received my reserve forces training near Daegu (2), in Suwon (2) and in Wonju (2). They were each interesting experiences.

I would say reserve forces training is not entirely bad. (Some actually look forward to it because they get to miss work for 3 days.) I would say one good aspect is that you sometimes get to reconnect with old colleagues. (See what they’ve been up to, etc.)

For me, reserve forces training served as a reminder of whether I was indeed living up to the promises I had made to myself (e.g., Once a civilian, I would try to live each day to the fullest, etc.).

Thanks for reading!

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