Singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young has been arrested. It is the first celebrity arrest in the “Burning Sun Gate” scandal.
On Thursday at 8:50 p.m., police arrested singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young on charges of violating the Sexual Violence Crime Laws. With his arrest, Jung becomes the first entertainer to be arrested in connection with the “Burning Sun Gate,” the title given the convoluted investigations of those connected to nightclub Burning Sun, Lee Seung-hyun, popularly known as Seungri, and Jung Joon-young.
Appear at the court at 9:35 a.m. on the same day, police questioned Jung hours before his arrest from 10:30 in the morning to 12:17 in the afternoon. Prior to the warrant hearing, Jung stood before the press where he apologized using a prepared script. “I’m really sorry,” he said, and “I committed an unpardonable crime. I accepted all the charges against me. Today, we will not argue over the allegation and follow the court’s judgment.”
Jung also issued an apology to those he victimized. “I once again apologize to the victims. I apologize to all of the women who have been damaged through no fault of their own, and to all those who have shown interest and affection to me so far. For now on, I will sincerely cooperate with the investigation process and reflect on what I have done for the rest of my life.”
Jung wept while reading the apology and stopped talking at once point due to his tears. However, he did not answer questions from reporters following his statement. In particular, Jung kept mum on whether he received consent from the victims before share the illegally filmed videos.
As a result, public criticism of Jung as intensified. Many say that his “crocodile tears” were fake and just a device to avoid arrest. However, tears are not a valid legal reason for police to not complete an arrest warrant.
On the day of the arrest, Lim Min-sung who is a judge at the Seoul District Court, said that with the status of crucial material evidence submitted, the circumstances of and after the crimes were committed, and the progression of the investigation so far that the “reason for the arrest of the accused and its considerable validity are recognized.” Further, there was also a concern that Jung may destroy evidence, although he has submitted three mobile phones for digital forensic investigation.
Jung is suspected of spreading filming and sharing sex videos in group chatrooms he shared with other celebrities without permission. Some of the stars in these chatrooms include Lee Seung-hyun, former Highlight member Yong Jun-hyung, former F.T. Island Choi Jong-hoon, and CNBLUE member Lee Jong-hyun. Additionally, authorities believe that Jung shared at least ten videos since late 2015.
In the process of their investigation of the charges put against former BIGBANG member Seungri, authorities believe that the former singer solicited prostitutes in both 2015 and 2017.
According to an MBN report on Wednesday, police secured a statement that there were sexual services or prostitution rings at Seungri’s, real name Lee Seung-hyun, birthday party in Palawan, the Philippines, in 2017.
The police have contacted a man who reportedly gathered the women for the birthday party. Additionally, they are also looking to investigate the women said to have been at the event.
News of this allegation is in addition to charges that Lee attempted to secure prostitutes for potential foreign business investors back in 2015, according to Kakao Talk messages revealed by SBS FunE News. As a result, the police investigation is expected to gain momentum as they work to uncover more information on the allegations against Lee.
Seungri returned home after being investigated by police overnight. As the seriousness of the investigation grows, the former singer looks to postpone his military enlistment.
At 6:14 am Friday, police released Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun, after questioning for about 16 hours. Lee, who had appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police agency around 2 p.m. the day before, was investigated overnight as a suspect.
Have gone through more than 20 hours of police questioning with more likely to come, Lee is expected to officially apply for the postponement of his enlistment at the Military Manpower Administration (MMA) today. The MMA is part of South Korea’s Ministry of Defense responsible for the compulsatory military conscription that all Korean men of age must oblige. Additionally, they are also charged with handling and fulfilling other critical personnel needs.
Speaking to a group of reporters, Lee said that he participated in the investigation sincerely and that “as of today, I will officially apply to the [MMA] for a postponement of my enlistment,” and “I will postpone the date of my enlistment and show that I am sincerely [participating in] the investigation until the end.”
Lee is suspected of distributing drugs, assault, sexual assault, collusion with the police, soliciting prostitutes, and tax evasion. When the scandal was just beginning to break, he voluntarily appeared before police on Feb. 27. At that time, investigators questioned him overnight for approximately 8.5 hours where he also took a drug test that came back negative. Moreover, he also submitted a petition asking the authorities to investigate him thoroughly so as to settle any matter completely.
In addition to the charges related to club Burning Sun and sing Jung Joon-yong, new reports alleged that he gambled in Las Vegas in the U.S. One media outlet disclosed that he may even be involved in attempting to arrange an overseas sex trade. Reportedly, he sent picture and information of a woman to “A,” a representative or delegate who was in Indonesia at the time.
Meanwhile, earlier this week Lee announced his retirement from the entertainment industry via social media which was followed by an official statement by YG Entertainment.
YG Entertainment ends of its exclusive contract with Seungri.
On Wednesday, YG Entertainment (YG) announced in an official press release that it has decided to terminate the exclusive contract with Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun. It was a process initiated by Lee the day before.
“After Seungri announced his retirement [from the entertainment industry] on the 12th, YG accept his request and terminated his exclusive contract with us,” the statement reads.
Moreover, following this news, the agency acknowledged that it does not manage its artist to the best of its ability. As a result, it plans to work with employees and executives to create a better company.
The following is the full text of the press release.
Hello, this is YG Entertainment.
Starting with the [Burning Sun] club incident in which Seungri was involved, and the following series of controversies, we would like to extend our deepest apology to fans an those who were affected or involved.
After Seungri announced his retirement [from the entertainment industry] on the 12th, we accepted his request and terminated his exclusive contract.
As an artist management company, we recognize that we have not thoroughly managed our artists and are deeply reflecting on this.
Lastly, we are aware that we are in need of significant improvements and we promise to work with our executives and employees to determine the best way to do so.
Who exactly is Seungri, the hallyu star currently surrounded by various controversies in Korea?
Right now, whenever a Korean individual or Kpop fan hears or reads the 2 syllables Seungri, the first thing that comes to mind would be that celebrity who is in the news for various scandals. Keywords are likely to be Burning Sun assault, offering women to investors, illegal filming of sexual content, retirement, nation’s traitor etc. But just prior to a few months ago, Seungri was not a hated individual but a world star who’s influence was especially prominent in Asia.
Who is Seungri?
Seungri also known as Lee Seung Hyun was the maknae of Kpop’s global idol group, Big Bang. The 29 year old idol made his debut under YG Entertainment in 2006 with Big Bang to later become one of the most popular boy groups in the world. Seungri was one of the youngest singers during that time, merely 16 years old, when he stepped into the entertainment industry. Over the years, Seungri experienced various roles in the entertainment industry as singer, songwriter, actor, producer and entrepreneur.
Prior to controversy
Big Bang had their first break through in 2007 with the release of their first extended play ‘Always’, Big Bang took their place as one of the most influential artists as they focused on producing and creating their own songs. During this time, leader and producer G-Dragon was gaining more attention as fans from the group as his songs became hits setting records for continuously topping charts and sales. Some of G-Dragon’s earliest hits were ‘Lies’ (2007), ‘Last Farewell’ (2007), ‘But I Love U’ (2007).
With Big Bang’s continuously growing popularity, the group was having concerts within 7 months of debuting. As they continued to rise in popularity in Korea, they set their sights for Japan just one year after debut. During that year, the members had hectic schedules letting exhaustion pile up to the point G-Dragon, T.O.P and Seungri became hospitalized halting activities. Seungri already had an ankle injury when it was reported he later lost consciousness towards the end of a show on December 29, 2007. Later it was reported Big Bang had earned over $11.5 Million USD just in 2007. Considering inflation in 2019, 11.5 Million dollars was worth a lot more 12 years ago.
The following year in 2008, Big Bang was very successful in Japan becoming one of the groups to solidify the hallyu wave. By 2009, the group was pursuing solo activities during which each member focused on nurturing their individual talents. Seungri was well known for wanting to “shed” his maknae image at this time for a more mature look. He won his first award with his solo ‘Strong Baby’ tasting his individual success at the age of 19.
In the following years, Seungri continued his solo activities while also promoting as a member of Big Bang. He took on various acting roles, released more solo music, developed his DJ skills etc. Seungri was in some ways overshadowed by other Big Bang members in the entertainment industry. Once his hyungs went on hiatus for military service, Seungri’s popularity and activities undeniably surged.
Just a year ago, Seungri was the only Big Bang member who was not serving mandatory military service yet. As a result, his popularity was growing not only in South Korea but also abroad as the only Big Bang member ‘to hold the fort’ before he went on hiatus for his own mandatory military service in Spring 2019. He made several guest appearances on MBC’s ‘I Live Alone’ increasing his popularity as viewers learned he was a considerate, detail oriented person in addition to being a successful businessman.
After his segment in ‘I Live Alone’ was aired, Seungri was widely complimented for his successful ramen franchise company that has over 45 locations all over the world claiming annual earnings of approximately $96 Million USD. From then on, other successful businesses of the idol/entrepreneur was in the headlines like dance academy, clubs, DJ label etc.. Public perspective of Big Bang Seungri was shifting from an immature playboy often in the headlines because of scandals, clubbing and such to a mature and charismatic man. He went on to explain his tendency to pursue all forms of entertainment led him his success today as an entrepreneur in the show.
Seungri further explained on ‘I Live Alone’ that while his current businesses may seem successful he has experienced failure in previous business ventures. He stated he lost many things but learned from those incidents leading to his current identity (in 2018).
Shortly after Seungri’s image as a successful businessman continued to garner positive reception, he was reported to be the new CEO of YGX in June 2018. YGX is a subsidiary of YG Entertainment that merged with Seungri’s DJ label NHR.
This momentum unfortunately did not last as news about his club, Burning Sun’s alleged assault broke the headlines in January 2019. Kim posted online he was assaulted by security and police when he tried to help a female at the club. This case is currently under investigation and with so many articles with various information, the exact details has become unclear.
Soon after, news about Seungri lobbying to investors with prostitutes joined the headlines. It led to chaos in the entertainment industry as various prominent figures were identified during the investigation.
Park Han Byul’s husband was identified to be involved in this case affecting the actress’s long awaited return to the small screen in MBC’s ‘Love in Sadness’.
Shortly after, various celebrities including idols were implicated as many forms of “evidence” circulated on the Internet. Hours later, Seungri declared he would retire on his Instagram which was met with derision.
There are various rumors and speculations about the controversies surrounding Seungri, but this article will not be delving in that direction. Instead, the focus will be what may have led to such controversies in the first place. What makes this such a big deal would be because it forced a lot of the “dirty laundry” in the entertainment industry to become public. It’s not a simple matter of someone caught breaking the law. But of a world star as the cause of the controversies that led to implicating other influential people.
In Korea, there are many situations where superficially everyone verbally supports gender equality and put their faith in the LAW. However, behind closed quarters there’s corruption, bribery and connections that can solve many things. A common plot seen in Korean drama where a chaebol uses their power, money and influence to be above the law is not completely without a grain of truth. In reality, it isn’t just chaebols but also influential figures in all parts of society, not only in South Korea but in every other country of the world. Just a couple years ago, Korea was in complete chaos as a nation because of abused power. If you’re unaware, the previous Korean president was impeached in 2016.
Many foreigners are unaware of Korean culture that takes hierarchy, social connections, “specs” (Korean term for social economic status) etc. very seriously. For a general idea, I would personally recommend watching Misaeng (2014) starring Im Si Wan, Lee Sung Min and Kang Sora.
In Korea, there are still many people who work overtime without being able to request for overtime pay, sick leave and vacations. This is something I myself have experienced when I interned in Korea just a few years ago. Additionally, female employees are still pressured to pour alcohol for male colleagues. An example would be a scene in the beginning of episode 2 in JTBC’s ‘Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food’ (2018). Furthermore, prostitution is illegal but ‘red light districts’ do exist.
This isn’t the first time YG’s celebrities have caused waves in the industry because of scandals. There have been previous scandals in the entertainment industry because of sexual and physical assault, harassment, prostitution, illegal drugs, drunk driving, tax evasion, sponsorship, adultery, underage drinking etc. in all areas of the entertainment world.
Many of the celebrities who were implicated in various scandals mentioned above were able to return to the entertainment industry after a few years. This itself shows society may easily forget and forgive while failing to fix the actual problem resulting in lofty disdain for indiscretions and breaking the law.
The controversies surrounding Seungri aren’t exactly new in Korean society. Seungri’s status whether guilty or innocent doesn’t matter as much as the fact that he isn’t the first nor the last person who will be accused, indicted, investigated etc. There are others who have probably done the same things mentioned in the controversies and there may be more in the future regardless of whether indicted or not. Aside from investigating to find out the truth, I think it is important to consider what this means for Korean society and what can be done to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.
There are a lot of things I could say about Seungri’s controversies that many may agree or disagree. No doubt I would be using lots of colorful vocabulary if I was to write about it. But taking a step back to see how someone who debuted at the young age of 16 ended up becoming called out as the “nation’s traitor” 14 years later, there’s probably various factorsin the entertainment industryand society that played a significant role in Seungri’s current situation.
Could it be Seungri’s controversies are being used to cover something even bigger? Just a passing thought seeing all the attention focused on entertainment these days instead of fine dust levels from China, N.Korea, economy etc. I suddenly remembered SBS’s drama Pinocchio (2014) starring Park Shin Hye and Lee Jong Suk. It’s a drama where the most powerful people hyped up celebrity news to hide conspiracies. (Crying because of Lee Jong Suk’s upcoming military hiatus.)
A news article reports the Hongdae club owner is not Big Bang Seungri but YG’s Yang Hyun Suk!
On March 5th, OSEN reports a news article by Cookie News has been gaining lots of attention for Hongdae’s club belonging to YG’s Yang Hyun Suk, not Big Bang’s Seungri. Cookie News reports Seungri posted he was the owner of a new Hongdae club in 2017, known as Club X. Although that club is currently doing business under a different name, Love Signal, research has proven the club owner is not Big Bang Seungri but Company A.
YG’s founder Yang Hyun Suk is known to have 70% ownership of Company A while the remaining 30% belongs to YG’s CEO Yang Min Suk (Yang Hyun Suk’s brother).
Last night (Feb. 27 KST) Seungri voluntarily went to police for investigative purposes. Some analysts believe that the timing of his appearance was made at a time to draw the least amount of attention to the event.
Around 8:30 last night, YG Entertainment announced that BIGBANG member Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun, would go to police voluntarily at 9 p.m. Notably, the announcement was made about a day since SBSfunE reported that he solicited prostitutes for foreign investors. Further, it has also been about a day since the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s investigation team launch an internal investigation into the allegations.
True to his word, the singer appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s station at 9 p.m. where he was met with media cameras and reporters. However, the analyst believes that Lee time the announcement and his submission to police strategically so as to draw the least amount of attention to the situation.
Mainly because its timing coincided with the second meeting between U.S. president Donald Trump and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam. At 8:30 p.m., when the announcement was made, the viewership of this meeting was at 28.3 percent.
Additionally, some have said that Lee’s intention is to change the momentum of the situation by making a surprise visit to police while the investigation is still in the internal stage. When he arrived at the police station at 9 p.m., Lee said that he is “sorry for the trouble” he’s caused and said he will be investigated so that “we can get to the bottom of the story quickly,” before entering the building.
While in police custody, YG Entertainment said he will take a urine and hair test. Going forward, the signer will cooperate with investigation requests.
Meanwhile, before submitting to police, Lee and his agency denied that the SBSfunE report and said that the text message conversations were falsified. In response, a reported involved in the article stated that they stood by the contents of the report and that the only content left out of the text messages was overly vulgar language.
Former members of the group The East Light appeared for the prosecution’s investigation and refuted Media Line Entertainment’s allegations.
Lee Seok-cheol (herein Seok-cheol) and brother Lee Seung-hyun, both former members of the band The East Light, went to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The visit is part of the ongoing investigation of the abuse of The East Line at the hands of Media Line Entertainment (herein Media Line) officials.
Last year in October, the Lee brothers came forward claiming that they Moon Yung-il, a producer at Media Line, had abused the group’s members for the past four years. Further, the two also said that chairman Kim Chang-hwan aid and abetted the abuse. Kim refuted the claims. The Lee brothers decided to file a formal complaint with the police against Moon, Kim, and CEO Lee Jung-hyun.
Since the two came forward last year, there has been a back-and-forth between the two sides.
After coming forward, Seol-cheol later testified in a press conference detailing the physical and verbal abuse the members experiences at the hands of Moon. In particular, Seok-cheol said that his brother suffered a severe head injury, would have bruises on his body, and had to seek psychiatric treatment. Moreover, Moon’s actions created an environment of fear and intimidation.
Chairman Kim and CEO Lee later held his own press conference with former members Lee Eun-sung and Jeong Sa-gang on December 26. There they claimed that the allegations and testimony from Seok-cheol were fabricated and false.
Additionally, the company disclosed recorded calls and messages reportedly from Seok-cheol’s father saying that his son was lying. CEO Lee went on to deny the specifics of Seok-cheol’s testimony which included details of being hit with golf clubs.
In fact, Media Line reported that Seok-cheol’s father is the one who left the Lee brothers with bruises and had beaten them with a golf club. The brother refuted the claims saying that they are unfair. They said that they don’t own golf clubs because their family is not rich enough to partake in the leisure sport. More, they claim that in their family they use words not hands to get their point across and are upset with Media Line’s portrayal of their father.
While the two sides are engaged in a heated debate over the truth, Seok-cheol is unperturbed. When media outlets approached him at the prosecution’s office, Seok-cheol said that the investigation would determine if what he said is true or not.
Earlier this year, members of the band The East Light came forward with allegations against several high-ranking officials from their agency Media Line, including producer Moon Young-il.
On Thursday, police arrested Moon Young-il and sent him to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ office on charges of alleged special and habitual acts of assault and battery on The East Light’s band members. Moon is suspected of assaulting the group from 2015 to 2018.
Previously, authorities sought an arrest warrant for Moon through the prosecutors’ office. Prosecutors are likely to decide Moon’s indictment within this year. Notably, this will be the third indictment against Media Line officials.
Before Moon’s arrest, the chairmen of the agency Kim Chang-hwan and Lee Jung-hyun were indicted without detention. The charged held against them are aiding with assault and violating a law related to minors.
In October, brothers and former members of The East Light Lee Seok-cheol and Lee Seung-hyun reported that they had been attacked by Moon for the past four years. Additionally, the two claimed that Kim assisted Moon and allowed the assaults to continue. The brother’s legal representative said that “there were only a few cases in which the victims remember the attack more clearly,” referring to the details of their testimony.
Lee Seok-Cheol and Lee Seung-Hyun of The East Light seek legal justice against the violence inflicted on them for the past 4 years.
On October 22, reports stated that two members of The East Light, Lee Seok-Cheol and Lee Seung-Hyun, will officially file their complaints against their abusive music producer, Moon Young-Il. Their legal representative said, “we are going to file a complain against producer Moon Young-Il and other related representatives of Media Line today at 11 AM. The father of the brothers plans to directly submit the files himself.”
Lee provided rather gruesome details of many violent incidents, such as getting hit by a baseball bat and being chocked with a guitar cable cord every time he misplayed his instruments. At the end, Lee said he could “as the leader of the band, I could no longer overlook the pain of my members and brothers.”
In response, CEO Kim Chang-Hwan of Media Line refuted the argument of Lee Seok-Cheol.
Kim said Lee exaggerated his details and announced to file a complain for defaming his name and reputation. However, JTBC’s “News Room” revealed an audio tape of Kim threatening the members, which only increased the public’s attention to the case.
On October 21, the legal representatives of Lee brothers once again stated their official stance on the case, and added further evidence. In the additional evidence, they revealed the messages exchanged between the father of Lee brothers and producer Moon Young-Il. Moreover, they revealed the pictures of Lee Seung-Hyun’s bruises on the head, buttocks, and thighs. At the end, they released the audio of Kim Chang-Hwan talking to Lee Seok-Cheol after his brother was kicked out of the band on October 11 and 15, respectively.
The following is the official statement of Lee Seok-Cheol and Lee Seung-Hyun:
Regarding the abuse case of The East Light members, the legal representative of Lee brothers, Nam Kang law firm, will file a legal complaint against producer Moon Young-Il and others on October 21 at 11 AM, KST.
The father of Lee brothers, who is their legal representative, will directly submit the file himself. Furthermore, lawyer Jung Ji-Suk will accompany him. Thank you.