K-pop scandal

Actor Park Yoo-chun gets two-year probation

Park Yoo-chun leaving a detention centre in Suwon, South Korea, yesterday, after he was sentenced to two years of probation and fined about $1,630 over drug use. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The K-pop scandal, which broke in January, is moving into the punishment stage.

Yesterday, actor-singer Park Yoo-chun, 33, was sentenced to two years of probation and fined US$1,200 (S$1,630) over drug use.

He was accused of buying and taking drugs with ex-fiancee Hwang Ha-na, 31, a socialite, on six occasions early this year.

The prosecutors requested a year and six months in prison for Park, who did not contest the charges.

While the judge observed that drug-taking was a serious offence, he decided that a suspended jail sentence would suffice, given that Park cooperated with the authorities and was a first-time offender, reported South Korean media.

Park, who had been held in a detention centre since April 26, was in an apologetic mood after he was freed.

The tired-looking singer brushed away tears when he told journalists outside the court he would work hard to regain the trust of his fans.

While netizens posted words of encouragement, some were upset he had got off lightly, given the devastating effects of drug-taking on society.

Park had also not come clean in April, when he denied that he was a drug user and that he did not send money to a drug dealer.

While the court has dealt with Park's case, cases involving other artists - from former BigBang singer Seungri, 28, to former FT Island member Choi Jong-hoon, 29 - are still winding their way through the legal system.

Seungri is accused of embezzlement and procurement of prostitutes for would-be investors of his businesses while Choi faces rape allegations.

The scandal has also forced Mr Yang Hyun-suk, founder of South Korea's YG Entertainment which manages many top artists, to step down.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline Actor Park Yoo-chun gets two-year probation. Subscribe