[Talk of the town]Singing about sex and tax evasionComedian and entertainer Jeong Jun-ha, 36, is in big trouble ― he has been accused of illegally operating an entertainment spot called “Sky Karaoke” in Sinsa-dong. Considering his motto, “Jeong Jun-ha always gives love,” the news is a shock.
Though Jeong himself denies any wrongdoing, several entertainment newspapers reported that the karaoke was operated illegally. They claim the place was registered as a restaurant when actually it was a karaoke bar. They also say the joint employs women for its customers’ pleasure.
The incident began last Wednesday when a 26-year-old Internet user put up photos of Sky Karaoke on his own Web site claiming that the place ought to be inspected. The man posted under the Web ID of “Director Hong,” as if he was an employee at the karaoke bar.
The news spread quickly through the Internet. Sky Karaoke was inspected and it appeared to have hired female employees for pleasure.
K, a person who spoke on condition of anonymity and works in the entertainment industry, told a sports tabloid, “The karaoke bar allows customers to invite girls to join them for pleasure. It costs 100,000 won per girl [as a tip] and 250,000 won to escort a girl outside.” K said that all the fees are paid to the karaoke bar.
Jeong is also blamed of registering the karaoke as a normal restaurant in order to evade taxes. A restaurant pays 10 percent tax whereas a karaoke bar pays around 35.
“I’ve been legally operating the karaoke with my cousins,” Jeong said at a press conference last Wednesday. He asserted that he didn’t take part in running the business. But a person in the karaoke industry noted that the bar is managed by four directors including Jeong, and 20 shareholders.
Up to this point though, Jeong has not been punished. An official in charge said in media interviews, “So far, the investigation shows Jeong is not the bar’s proprietor.”
Meanwhile, despite the allegations, “Infinite Challenge” (a show in which Jeong currently stars) is still loved by many viewers. According to TNS Media, 22.9 percent of television viewers watched the variety show last Saturday.
By Lee Eun-joo