SEOUL • Smoke out drug-taking activities. The call has gone out once again to a leading South Korean show business agency, YG Entertainment, after yet another of its clients got into trouble.
On Friday, police said rapper Kush was booked without detention for buying and using cocaine.
Kush, whose real name is Kim Byung Hoon, 33, was nabbed on Tuesday in Seoul while attempting to pick up about 1g of cocaine from an unmarked mailbox.
He admitted to drug use, revealing that he had used cocaine on two separate occasions since Nov 26. He claimed to suffer from depression.
Police said they will determine how he was able to buy cocaine, before requesting an arrest warrant.
The news has led to music fans accusing YG of having lost control over its artists and not taking proper measures to counter drug abuse.
Kush is the fourth YG artist to have been involved in drug offences since 2011. That year, Big Bang leader G-Dragon admitted to marijuana use at a Japanese club, saying he was unaware of what he was inhaling then. He was released without indictment as the prosecutors said he had smoked only a tiny amount and that it was his first use.
In 2014, police discovered that G-Dragon's label mate Park Bom of 2NE1 had allegedly smuggled amphetamine pills in 2010 through international postal service.
Again, there was no indictment, with the singer saying she was unaware that the substance was illegal in South Korea and that she had taken them for medical purposes when she lived in the United States.
Big Bang member T.O.P made headlines in August this year for smoking marijuana several times last year with an agency trainee.
His sentence of 10 months in prison was suspended for two years.
YG has so far been able to ride out the storms - either with apologies or favourable court rulings. But with the latest case involving Kush, it may face its toughest challenge yet.
Pop culture critic Im Jin Mo said YG's drug scandals "reflect the agency's secretive and closed inner culture. Compared to S.M. and JYP Entertainment, YG has a more clandestine image, not revealing much of its inner sides".
"YG's way of coping with scandals has been a bit arrogant and defensive and that's because the agency thinks it has power," he added.
"YG has been reeling under a blow. It will have to be more open and flexible to the public."
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK