SKorean man gets merit after losing hair in army

today Feb 24, 2008
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A bald model displays an outfit at a fashion show - Photo : AFP
SEOUL, Feb 24, 2008 (AFP) - A 26-year-old South Korean man has been granted a national merit entitling him to government subsidies after he went bald during his "stressful" army service, a news report said Sunday february 24th.

A court in Suwon, 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of Seoul, recently ruled in favour of a petition by the army reserve, known as Mr. Kwon, to get a "person-of-national-merit" status, Yonhap News Agency said.

People of national merit are entitled to a monthly state subsidy for livelihood and various other social benefits in South Korea.

Kwon joined the army in December 2002 and his hair began falling out in July 2004. He blamed his training for the alopecia, which has worsened, and demanded compensation from the government, Yonhap said. He was discharged from the service in January 2005.

The authorities decided not to award him merit, citing no precedence and relevance, but Kwon filed a lawsuit against the decision, which he won, the report said.

"Given various facts ... including that the loss of hair began in the military service, the alopecia was caused by stress pertaining to training and missions in the military life," the court ruled, according to Yonhap.

All able-bodied men in South Korea must serve in the military for at least two years.

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