Taiwan's military punishes two trainers for taking pictures with celebrity recruit

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) yesterday said that two military personnel were punished for taking photographs with actor Ethan Ruan who is currently undergoing alternative service training at a central military base in Taichung.

The two team captains were punished by canceling their one-day and three-day leaves respectively because they had misused their positions to take pictures with Ruan during training sessions in Cheng Gong Ling, according to Lee Jong-jing, deputy director-general of the National Conscription Agency under the MOI.

Cheng Gong Ling is a training center for all conscripts who will serve alternative service.

Lee also noted that it is understandable for military personnel to want to take photographs with celebrities. However, the pair was punished not only because they had misused their power but also because they had chosen a wrong time to do so.

The incident was one of a series of news centering on Ruan, one of the most famous male idols in Taiwan, who officially began serving his one-year service two weeks ago in Taichung after allegedly dodging the compulsory service for years.

He had reportedly received preferential treatment for his fame. For one, the actor was allowed to serve his national service in alternative ways, instead of with the military because he is flat-footed.

He was also allegedly given special treatment during the training period and was even granted permission to serve in educational alternative service, meaning he could serve as a teacher in rural areas, which is believed to be less tiresome in comparison with other options, including serving in the police stations, fire departments, public clinics or local government offices.

In response to accusations of preferential treatment for Ruan, Lee yesterday reiterated that his agency is treating all conscripts fairly.

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