K-pop sex scandal

Police step up probe of Burning Sun club

South Korean President calls for no stone to be left unturned in investigation and ministers apologise for alleged collusion between some policemen and Burning Sun staff

Jung Joon-young
Jung Joon-young

SEOUL • Amid a call by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to leave no stone unturned in probing scandals and apologies by two ministers over suspected corruption by some officials, the police have stepped up their probe of Burning Sun.

The club, linked to former BigBang singer Seungri, has been hit by allegations of sexual assault, illicit filming of sex videos, drug use and improper ties with the police, reported The Korea Herald.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors' Office has asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for singer Jung Joon-young, 30, who allegedly shot sex videos - involving 10 women - and shared them via a group chat with other K-pop artists, including Seungri, 28, and FT Island's Choi Jong-hoon, 29.

The authorities have also sought arrest warrants for a Burning Sun employee surnamed Kim and an executive director at the club surnamed Jang.

Kim is accused of illicit filming while Jang is said to have assaulted a customer.

Interior Minister Kim Boo-kyum and Justice Minister Park Sang-ki apologised to the public for the alleged collusion between some policemen and Burning Sun staff in a press briefing on Tuesday.

"I take the public outrage about a case involving the privileged with a heavy heart and I apologise as interior minister about suspected collusion (between the club) and some officers who are supposed to root out illegal acts," Mr Kim said.

On Tuesday morning, Lee Moon-ho, head of Burning Sun, attended a court hearing over an application for a warrant to arrest him for alleged drug distribution at the club.

The judge later rejected the application.

Seungri, who was executive director at Burning Sun, is also under investigation for procuring prostitutes for potential investors.

Yesterday, the authorities said a request - from him as well as from the police - to defer his military service enlistment, slated for next Monday, had been approved.

He is now due to enlist in three months' time.

Seungri, in yet another hit to his reputation, is said to have deleted all his text messages that allegedly dwelled on getting help from police officers to avoid punishments for violations at Burning Sun.

The scandals, which have seen four artists withdraw from the K-pop industry, have also dealt a big blow to the management agencies.

Five major outfits, including YG Entertainment and FNC Entertainment, have seen their share values losing US$520 million (S$703 million) in total.

Choi himself could be hit with a three-year jail term for allegedly sharing videos filmed by Jung, a lawyer said on a Korean show.

The singer is also said to have explored ways to cover up his drink-driving case in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2019, with the headline 'Police step up probe of Burning Sun club'. Subscribe