March 15, 2019
Disgraced celebrities suspected of sex bribery, sharing illegal sex videos in growing scandal that now includes alleged collusion with police.
Singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young and K-pop superstar Seungri appeared at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Thursday for questioning amid snowballing allegations against them, including accusations that Jung shared sex videos he had secretly filmed and that Seungri brokered prostitution in exchange for business favors.
Jung, 30, arrived at the police agency around 10 a.m. in a black suit with his hair tied back.
“I’m sorry for causing concerns to the people. I will sincerely submit to the investigation,” Jung said, repeatedly apologizing in front of the reporters.
Asked whether he would turn over his mobile phone to the police and whether he had drugged his victims when he secretly filmed sex videos and took intimate photos, the singer did not reply.
He also refused to answer questions about whether he had continued to film women illegally until recently and whether he had used drugs when he committed the alleged sex crimes.
The singer is suspected of filming illicit videos of at least 10 women who had sex with him between 2015 and 2016 and sharing them with fellow entertainers in a group chat room via a mobile messenger app, without the victims’ consent.
Jung returned to Korea on Tuesday from the US, where he had been shooting a show, after the news broke Monday. The police booked him on Tuesday on suspicion of violating the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Jung admitted to making the videos.
As the scandal snowballed, K-pop singer and composer Yong Jun-hyung on Thursday announced that he would quit his group, Highlight, admitting that he had received an illicit video from Jung and taken part in inappropriate conversations about the footage.
The police collected hair and urine samples from Jung for drug tests, and said they might request an arrest warrant depending on the results.
Meanwhile, the case is expected to grow bigger following a local broadcaster’s report concerning alleged collusion between Jung and the police in 2016, when Jung was accused of secretly taking intimate photos of his ex-girlfriend without her consent.
According to the SBS report on Wednesday, the police allegedly asked a company that had carried out a digital forensic examination of Jung’s mobile phone — upon Jung’s request — to confirm that it was impossible to recover the content from the phone. The company had not finished the work at that point.
The case was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office and the prosecutors decided the case against Jung was unfounded.
Arriving at the police agency at around 2 p.m., Seungri bowed at the photo line and apologized for his behavior.
“I apologize to the public and to everyone who was hurt (due to my behavior). Rather than say anything (here), I will sincerely cooperate with the investigation by providing sincere answers (to the police),” Seungri said.
The 29-year-old singer is accused of brokering prostitution for potential investors, and has been booked without detention.
The case came to light when a local media outlet disclosed group chat messages involving Seungri, Jung and others, which suggest that Seungri ordered others to hire prostitutes for potential investors for a nightclub.
That report followed closely on the heels of a report that a man who had reported sex crimes at Burning Sun, a club Seungri is widely thought to have been involved in running, was beaten by the police who arrived on the scene, suggesting possible collusion between the police and the club management.
The report also led to revelations of alleged drug use as well as rape and the illicit filming of sex videos at Burning Sun.
The police also summoned the co-head of Yuri Holdings, surnamed Yoo, who was also involved in the group chat, for questioning Thursday afternoon. Yoo and Seungri jointly headed Yuri Holdings, which holds a 20 percent stake in Burning Sun.
In addition to the sex bribery allegations, the police questioned the two about their ties with the police, as investigators found messages on the group chat that suggested high-ranking police officials were on their side and would shield them from consequences.