GYEONGJU, Dec. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – In the early hours of November 30, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck Gyeongju, South Korea, leaving military personnel with an unexpected aftermath – widespread confiscation of mobile phones. Reports have emerged of soldiers surreptitiously using phones during prohibited hours, only to be caught off guard by disaster alert sounds.
According to a post on a military-related Facebook page, soldiers have recently reported having their phones confiscated.
One informant, who wished to remain anonymous, lamented, “Several people sharing the same dormitory with my boyfriend had their phones confiscated due to disaster messages.
Now, the entire dormitory is banned from using phones for two weeks.” She expressed her discontent, saying, “Those who didn’t use two phones should not bear the same responsibility. Why should everyone suffer collectively?”
The term ‘two phone’ mentioned online refers to the practice of using two phones by a single individual. It involves bringing two devices into restricted areas, such as schools or military bases, and submitting a dummy device while secretly using the actual phone.
Disaster messages typically trigger a loud alert tone unless the settings are changed. The national meteorological agency sent an emergency disaster message at 4:55 AM on November 30, leading to the revelation of ‘two phone’ incidents within military units.
Stories of soldiers being caught with their phones have surfaced beyond the anonymous individual mentioned above. Another informant shared, “The dormitory went into chaos in the early morning, and those who didn’t submit their phones due to the earthquake disaster message got caught. I survived.”
Online communities reacted with diverse opinions upon learning about these incidents. Comments included, “Responsibility should be collective in the military,” “Allowing smartphone usage should come with stricter regulations,” “They should have just turned off their phones,” and “We also received a group scolding because of the disaster message alert.”
After the Moon Jae-in administration decided to relax cell phone use regulations for military personnel in 2019, the military has permitted soldiers to use mobile phones but with restrictions on their usage during working hours. Soldiers are required to store their phones in designated areas while carrying out routine duties.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)