K-pop scandal

iKON's B.I to quit over drug scandal


SEOUL • The recent calm in the months-long K-pop scandal has now been shattered, with a storm brewing over whether B.I (above), leader of popular boy band iKON, bought and consumed drugs.

Media outlet Dispatch raised the red flag after it unearthed Kakao Talk messages from three years ago.

These allegedly detailed a conversation between B.I and a dealer, in which the singer asked for a discount and the dealer warned him about the effects of taking drugs.

The two also spoke about the risks of being found out by the authorities, with B.I urging the dealer to delete their chats.

Apparently, this was not done.

Providing further evidence of K-pop artists bribing corrupt policemen to settle incidents of improper behaviour, Dispatch noted that the dealer was caught, but B.I was never charged.

This was despite the dealer reportedly providing his name to the authorities.

According to portal Soompi, iKON's management agency YG refuted Dispatch's account.

In a statement, it said iKON members had never failed drug tests that were done regularly. "iKON also underwent a urine examination ahead of their promotions. Including B.I, none of the members tested positive."

But B.I yesterday said he is quitting, posting on Instagram: "It's true that during a time when I was deeply struggling and miserable, I wanted to rely on something that I should never have shown interest in. However, even then, I was scared and terrified of it, and was unable to partake in it.

"Nonetheless, I feel so embarrassed and apologetic towards my fans and group members, who were undoubtedly hurt by me."

The K-pop scandal, which broke early this year, has seen artists, from former BigBang singer Seungri to singer Jung Joon-young, charged by the authorities for offences, from illegal sharing of sex videos to procuring prostitutes for would-be investors.

Singer Park Yoo-chun, who was arrested, confessed that he took drugs alone or with former fiancee Hwang Ha-na, a socialite.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'iKON's B.I to quit over drug scandal'. Print Edition | Subscribe