Ex-Big Bang member Seungri Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Prostitution

Last week, former K-pop idol Seungri, or Lee Seung-hyun, was sentenced to three years in prison.

Ex-Big Bang member Seungri Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison for Prostitution
Photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

The ex-Big Bang member left the group in 2019 after he was slammed with a number of serious charges, such as allegedly organizing prostitutes for investors, embezzlement, bribery, illegal gambling, and violation of foreign currency exchange and food hygiene laws.

Additionally, he was fined 1.15 billion won (around P49.4 million).

Seungri is currently serving his mandatory 2-year military service, a requirement for all able-bodied men in South Korea. Legal procedures took place in military court, where the 30-year-old denied most of the charges.

The sentence came as the aftermath of the Burning Sun scandal, a scandal in which various male K-pop idols and famous personalities were caught committing sex crimes and engaging in illegal activities.

The Burning Sun was a glitzy Gangnam nightclub co-owned by Seungri and was frequented by many celebrities. In 2019, allegations exploded across the media after CCTV footage of a man being assaulted by Burning Sun staff was released.

Photo from MBC News Desk

Police launched an investigation and found evidence of assault, prostitution, drug distribution, tax evasion, and police corruption within the club, causing public uproar and prompting the closure of the club.

In addition, authorities also discovered a group chat between K-pop idols that showed chat members sharing sexually explicit videos, including those where women were unconscious and unaware they were being filmed.

Artists like Choi Jong-hoon of FT Island, Lee Jong-hyun of CNBLUE, Yong Jun-hyung of Highlight, and Jung Joon-young of Drug Restaurant were participants of the group chat.

Choi and Jung were sentenced to five and six years, respectively, for gang raping drunk and unconscious women. Other figures in the entertainment industry and the police force were also punished accordingly.

The scandal brought up issues present in the entertainment industry and Korea as a whole, such as the harassment of women, illicit recording, and widespread corruption.

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