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Soldiers play truant from target practice

One in ten Swiss soldier fails to turn up for compulsory target practice, and gets landed with a large fine instead, German language television reported on Monday.

In 2009 164,000 young men were summoned to take part, but nearly 15,000 did not show up and failed to provide a good reason for staying away, the 10vor10 programme said.

The figures were confirmed by the defence ministry.

The figure was even higher in 2008, when some 16,800 out of nearly 163,000 did not appear.

By the beginning of December 2010 more than 18,000 soldiers had not fulfilled this obligation, which is supposed to be completed before August 31.

Failure to appear is punishable by fines, which double each year from SFr100 ($104) in the first year, to SFr800 in the fourth. In the fifth year the truant has to face a military court.  

In 2009 a total of SFr3.3 million was collected in fines, and in 2008 more than SFr 3.6 million.

Switzerland has a mainly non-professional army, in which all young men (other than those who opt for civilian service) serve for a specified number of weeks, spread over a number of years.

All men, subalterns and NCOs have to show up once a year to demonstrate the accuracy of their shooting with their personal weapons. and agencies

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