Korean esports pro faked low IQ to avoid military service
5 February 2024
Esports are a big and growing market in South Korea, and it’s not rare to see exciting international esports news coming from the Asian nation. At the end of last year, for example, the capital city of Seoul and the coastal city of Busan hosted the League of Legends World Championship for the first time since 2018. That was a huge boost for South Korea’s LoL and general esports communities.
Now though, one of the country’s growing number of professional esports athletes has gotten into trouble with the authorities after trying to avoid military service. South Korea has an obligatory military draft for all men between 18 and 28 years old since 1957, and Won “WonChangYeon” Chang-yeon has been convicted of trying to avoid the draft by pretending to have a low IQ. The former FIFA pro tried to play dumb on his psychological test, but was found out by the police.
Jailtime and community service
Every South Korean male needs to undergo a physical test and a psychological test before being admitted to mandatory military service. After “WonChangYeon” cleared the physical test, he decided to try and play the system by failing the psychological test on purpose. By providing fake answers to the questions, he tried to get a mental disorder diagnosis as well as a recognition of an IQ that is too low to serve in the military. Unfortunately for him, an incredibly low IQ score of 53 made the authorities suspicious and led them to investigate Chang-yeon’s test results.
It did not take them long to reveal the true intentions of “WonChangYeon”, who was active as a professional FIFA (now EA Sports FC) player for a number of years. On Monday, January 29th, the 31-year-old was convicted of draft dodging by a District Court in the city of Incheon. As part of that conviction, the player is sentenced to one year in jail and a total of 120 hours of community service.
Retirement from international esports
At the time of the verdict, “WonChangYeon” had already been out of the international esports world for almost half a year. He decided to retire from esports back in August of 2023, when his indictment came in. The young mam was, however, still producing content for Youtube, both for his own channel and as a guest for other channels.
Before retiring, Chang-yeon has built a reputation as one of the better FIFA players in his country. Amongst his biggest achievements are two EA Champions Cup final victories, the EA Champions Cup Winter 2020 and the EA Champions Cup Autumn 2021, as well as finishing as runner-up during the FIFA eContinental Cup 2020. He was active for about six years and managed to win around $ 70.000 worth of prize money over that period. Chang-yeon has not yet published a statement in reaction to his punishment and it is not yet clear whether or not he is planning to continue in the world of international esports after his jailtime and community service hours have been completed.