2 more soldiers die in apparent suicide

August 12, 2014
The body of an Army draftee is moved from his home in Seoul on Aug. 12, 2014. He was found dead the previous day along with his colleague in apparents suicides, according to authorities. (Yonhap)

The body of an Army draftee is moved from his home in Seoul on Aug. 12, 2014. He was found dead the previous day along with his colleague in apparents suicides, according to authorities. (Yonhap)

(Yonhap) — Two Army draftees have been found dead together in apparent suicides in Seoul, police said Tuesday, the latest in a series of tragic incidents involving enlisted soldiers in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old and 21-year-old corporals, who were on the military’s list of soldiers “requiring extra care” and assigned to the 28th Infantry Division, were found hanged in the elder draftee’s home in Seoul on Monday, according to police officers.

With the two, both surnamed Lee, taking a leave last week, the older corporal failed to return to his unit on Monday and the other was scheduled to return this week, the Army said.

In a brief note, the younger soldier said, “It is hard to tolerate. I cannot do anything.”

Speaking ill of one of his senior comrades in the same unit, he said he “wants to kill him,” according to Lee Joon-beom of the Army headquarters.

“An investigation is underway into exactly what happened to them, including whether they had ever been abused,” the officer said.

The draftees were on the military’s list of soldiers requiring special attention, as they had difficulties adapting to military life, according to the Army.

As part of efforts to better manage the troops, the military conducts personality tests on draftees and classifies at-risk soldiers into three categories. These soldiers are considered to require extra care and have relatively unstable mental status and family backgrounds.

“Personality tests in May indicated that they were unfit for active duty, and the two had received psychotherapy several times since,” another Army officer said, asking not to be named.

“The 21-year-old soldier had attempted to commit suicide at his barracks last year and went AWOL the following month. We had tried to let him leave the military early, but his parents had opposed to it,” he added.

The 28th Division in the northern border town of Yeoncheon is the military unit where a private first class surnamed Yoon died in April after long suffering from brutal abuse by his senior comrades.

The latest case brought the total number of suicide victims on active duty this year to 46, according to government data. Last year, 79 draftees killed themselves.

The suicides came as the military has been reeling from several similar cases in recent weeks, including a deadly shooting rampage by a sergeant after being bullied by his colleagues.


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