Military delays Seungri’s service over probeThe military said Wednesday it has allowed K-pop megastar Seungri to postpone his enlistment by three months after he requested the delay so he can submit to a criminal investigation.
The youngest member of boy band Big Bang was originally scheduled to join the Army on March 25.
The Military Manpower Administration said the police also asked to delay his enlistment to investigate the 29-year-old performer, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun. The police questioned Seungri earlier this month for his role in a mushrooming sex, drugs and police protection scandal. He was suspected of having offered women for sex to investors in his nightclub business. The police are also investigating his alleged involvement in prostitution and gambling overseas.
The Military Manpower Administration told Seungri in January that he must join the military, which was before the scandal broke out. After his agency, YG Entertainment, announced on March 8 that he was to join the military as scheduled later this month, criticism that he was dodging a police investigation grew. If Seungri had enlisted, military authorities would have jurisdiction over his case.
Seungri was first questioned on Feb. 27 by the police. Another questioning took place on March 14 after he was booked as a suspect. The police questioned him again on March 18 over additional drug use allegations.
Based on Kakao chats Seungri had with Yu In-seok, his business partner, in December 2015, the police suspected that he had offered sex services to foreign investors. Both Seungri and Yu have denied arranging prostitutes.
He was also accused of arranging prostitution in Indonesia and gambling in Las Vegas, based on his Kakao chats with a real estate developer surnamed Kim. In his chats with Kim, Seungri said he had won 200 million won ($177,030) in Las Vegas. He also said he had great girls who he wanted to show to Kim.
Seungri, however, denied the charges in an interview with a local media. According to the Sisa Journal interview, Seungri said the chats were nothing more than boasting. “Friends were just bragging about things foolishly,” Seungri said. “But they became tax evasion and police protection charges in the eyes of the public.”
“I confess the truth, but no one believes it,” he said. “Investigators all think that the Kakao chats are all true and they are all evidence.”
Meanwhile, the police investigation into the alleged drug trade and use at Seungri’s Burning Sun nightclub faced an obstacle, as a local court struck down the police request to detain Lee Moon-ho, a co-operator of the club. The Seoul Central District Court said Tuesday it turned down the police request to detain Lee, who is accused of selling drugs. The court said the charges are disputable, and the police failed to present enough evidence to detain the suspect.
The police said they will study the court’s decision and reapply for the warrant with more evidence.
The court will also hold warrant hearings on other suspects in the Burning Sun scandal today. Among them is singer Jung Joon-young, whose Kakao chats with Seungri and others are at the center of the scandal.
Jung was accused of shooting and distributing sex videos without the consent of the women in them. The police investigation has shown that there are more than 10 victims.
The police booked Jung on March 12 and questioned him on March 14 and 17. The police asked the prosecution to apply for a detention warrant, and the prosecutors agreed. Jung reportedly admitted to most charges.
An employee of Burning Sun accused of sharing the illegal sex videos will also face a warrant hearing. An executive of the club accused of beating a guest will also receive a warrant hearing at the same court.
BY SER MYO-JA, JEONG JIN-HO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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