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By Lee Han-soo
Popular Korean actor Lee Min-ho has been excused from mandatory conscription because of severe injuries he suffered in a 2006 fatal car accident. Instead, the star, 30, will fulfill the national defense duty all able-bodied men in the country have to do with community service.
The Military Manpower Administration that handles conscription made a rare public explanation of its decision.
The 2006 accident happened in August when Lee and his close actor friend Jung Il-woo went on vacation to Gangwon Province.
The trip was shortened when a car drove over the center line and collided with Lee and Jung's car. Their car was crushed and the two suffered injuries that required hospital treatment for seven months. The driver of the other car was killed.
Lee's injuries included a broken thigh and ankle and a tear in a knee cartilage. His treatment included the insertion of a 46-centimeter metal pin in his thigh, which has left one leg shorter than the other.
Lee shot to stardom after having the leading role in "Boys Over Flowers," a hit Korean drama.
He was involved in another car accident while filming "City Hunter" in 2011, although he was reportedly not severely injured.
According to reports, it has yet to be decided when Lee will start his community service. His agency said Lee's schedule for this year is full.
Lee is now shooting the new film "Bounty Hunters" and will star in a TV drama.