Monday, March 07, 2011

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Korean actor Hyun Bin joins Marines

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Korean actor Hyun Bin, 28, joined the Marines on Monday (March 7) for his military service in South Korea.

"I have received great attention and love in the year 2010 and now I have been ordered by my country (to serve in the military). I will return the love you have given me in two years and I will spend those two years well," Hyun said in the farewell message to his fans gathered in front of the Marines Corp training base.

He also said he was grateful to those who spared time to go and see him and promised to be back.

He will take part in a five-week training in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, before being posted to a unit where he will serve for the next 21 months.

Thousands of fans, including overseas fans from Japan and China, gathered in front of the Marines Corp training base in a small town of Pohang on Monday to say goodbye to their idol. About 170 domestic and foreign reporters were at the scene to report the moment Hyun joins the Marines.

Korean news channel YTN also broadcasted live from the scene.

Welcoming placards for Hyun drew media attention days before he appeared. The office of Ocheon town, where the Marine Corps training base is located, put up a placard welcoming the soon-to-be enlisted Marines, indicating the direction where fans of Hyun Bin should go to prevent chaos breaking out on the big day.

Hyun announced that he had been accepted to join the Marines in January.

He gained tremendous popularity with his role in "My Name is Kim Sam Soon" aired in 2005 and was recently seen in the SBS weekend drama "Secret Garden". he has built up an enormous fan base both nationwide and overseas. Two recently released movies in which Hyun starred, "Late Autumn" and "Come Rain, Come Shine" also received attention.

Hyun managed a very tight and busy schedule before he joined the Marines, finishing with an official outing at the Berlin film festival and a series of commercial shoots in late February.

Hyun's decision to join the Marines came after the North Korea's bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island near the West Sea border on Nov. 23.

The attack sparked anger among young South Koreans, and increased the number of applicants for the Marine Corps as a result. Applicants for other special forces such as the Underwater Demolition Team of the Navy rose after their brave rescue mission for soldiers on the Cheonan warship and hostages held by Somali pirates.

Hyun's case is in sharp contrast to a host of actors who have been charged with draft-dodging.

GNP's lawmaker Jeon Yeo-ok once called the actor's decision the join the Marines an act of "noblesse oblige," and hoped it would be a chance to change the perception of young South Koreans toward the mandatory military duty.

In Korea, all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for about two years.

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