Court rules police can’t arrest Wheesung in propofol probe

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Court rules police can’t arrest Wheesung in propofol probe

A court on Tuesday dismissed a request by police to detain singer Wheesung, who is being investigated for illegal drug use.

“There is no concern of the accused running from authorities,” a local court in Daegu said in its statement announcing its decision to dismiss the request.

News broke late March that Wheesung was being investigated for illegally using propofol, a powerful anesthetic.

Propofol is commonly prescribed around the world and is recommended by the World Health Organization. But in Korea it has fallen under stricter regulations since 2011. Here, propofol can be prescribed by medical professionals in small dosages and only for medical purposes. Outside of these criteria, use of the drug is illegal in Korea. A number of celebrities have faced charges for illegal use of the drug.

This is not the first time Wheesung has been embroiled in a propofol abuse scandal. He was accused of illegal use of the drug from 2011 to 2013, after repeatedly asking for prescriptions from various clinics in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

He was suspected of illegally using the drug and investigated by authorities, but a court in 2013 cleared him of the charges.

Since the investigations began, the singer has been found unconscious twice after having injected a type of sleep-inducing drug. Wheesung was found unconscious on the floor of a bathroom in Songpa District, southern Seoul, on March 31. Police found him there, along with a plastic bag containing syringes and bottles filled with unidentified liquid. Wheesung tested negative on a drug test conducted at the station, but police say it is likely that he used a type of sleep-inducing drug that’s not classified as a narcotic.

He was sent home but was again found unconscious on the bathroom floor of a hotel in Gwangjin District, eastern Seoul, on the evening of April 2.

“Wheesung has been showing signs that he may not be in his right mind, like showing up unconscious on a bathroom floor,” a police officer told the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily. “That’s why we asked for an arrest warrant. We are continuing our investigations into the propofol case.”

Wheesung debuted in 2002 as a solo singer with YG Entertainment. He left the agency in 2006.

By Esther Chung
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