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Culture and society

Police accelerate probe into Burning Sun scandal

The scandal has involved police officers, nightclub owners and K-Pop stars.


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Updated: March 21, 2019

Police on Tuesday accelerated a probe into nightclub Burning Sun, which has been marred by allegations of sexual assault, the illicit filming of sex videos, drug use and corrupt ties with police, as ministers vowed a thorough investigation and due punishment.

The Seoul Central Prosecutors’ Office asked a Seoul court to issue an arrest warrant for Jung Joon-young, a singer-songwriter suspected of secretly filming sex videos and sharing them in mobile messenger group chats, including Seungri of Big Bang and FT Island’s Choi Jong-hoon.

It also filed arrest warrants for a Burning Sun employee surnamed Kim and an executive director at the club surnamed Jang.

Kim is accused of illicit filming. Jang is accused of inflicting bodily harm for allegedly assaulting Kim Sang-kyo, a customer who opened the floodgates of allegations surrounding Burning Sun.

Kim Sang-kyo appeared before the police Tuesday for questioning on defamation charges filed against him by a club official and police officers accused of beating Kim.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea said that its review of the footage of the incident showed that the police did not follow proper procedures in the course of apprehending Kim.

“We can confirm that the police knocked down Kim, handcuffed him and then said they would catch him red-handed,” it said in a statement, noting that the Kim was not given the Miranda warning.

By not providing proper medical treatment to Kim who was injured in the assault, the police violated human rights, the commission said.

Interior Minister Kim Boo-kyum and Justice Minister Park Sang-ki apologized to the public for the alleged collusion between police and Burning Sun in an emergency press briefing Tuesday.

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

Forty people were booked on drug-related charges, 14 of them suspected of taking drugs or distributing them at the Burning Sun. Three of the 40 have already been arrested. A total of four police officers have been found to be involved in the case so far.

On Tuesday morning, Lee Moon-ho, head of nightclub Burning Sun, attended an arrest warrant hearing at the Seoul Central District Court for alleged illegal drug distribution at the club.

Seungri, who was executive director at Burning Sun, is also under investigation for procuring prostitutes for potential investors at the club. He was questioned as a criminal suspect Friday.



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