[World Cup] Fans cry out ‘Free Son Heung-min’

By Catherine Chung
  • Published : Jun 28, 2018 - 17:23
  • Updated : Jun 28, 2018 - 18:14

While Mexican soccer fans are celebrating Mexico’s advancement to the World Cup’s knockout stage, thousands of South Korean fans are more concerned about Son Heung-min’s now inevitable enlistment in the nation’s army.

South Korea’s victory against Germany on Wednesday eliminated Son’s chance of bypassing the 2-year military duty, which is required for all abled-bodied men before they turn 28. 

Son Heung-min (Yonhap)

Titled “I will serve in the military on behalf of Son Heung-min,” a petition on the Blue House website called for Son’s exemption from the military enlistment. 

Screen-captured from presidential website. (Cheong Wa Dae)

Cheong Wa Dae has pledged to give a response to petitions that have gained more than 200,000 signatures in a month. The petition on Son was posted on Sunday and signed by 2,422 people as of 4:38 p.m. Thursday.

“I can serve in the military twice if it means that the 50 million citizens of South Korea will be able to enjoy soccer,” the petitioner wrote. 

South Korean fans offer to serve in the military for a few days each on behalf of Son Heung-min by ‘crowd funding.’ (Twitter)

In addition to the thousands of South Korean fans, some Mexican fans offered themselves up to serve in the Korean military, perhaps half-jokingly, on behalf of the nation’s soccer star via social media.

With the hashtag “FreeSonHeungMin,” the Twitter posts showed fans’ enthusiastic response to the issue, though the odds of the petition getting a result seem fairly low, at least for now. 

Mexican fans offer to help Son Heung-min be exempt from military enlistment. (Twitter)

By Catherine Chung (

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