Since the beginning of 2019, scandal upon scandal has befallen one of the most prominent members of the K-Pop industry. Here’s a detailed timeline of how this scandal is engulfing Korea and even has the President worried.
Seungri, a member of one of the most loved K-Pop groups, Big Bang and is a huge sensation in Korea. Apart from the entertainment industry, Seungri also owns a chain of Japanese ramen restaurants, Aori Ramen. He is also the consultant of a club, Burning Sun.
Jan 28th: The Beginning Of The End
- On the 28th of January, a Korean man Kim Sang Kyo, (28) reports that he had witnessed a woman getting sexually harassed at the club.
- After his attempts to help her fail, he gets beaten up by the bouncers of the club and is reported to the authorities by the club, claiming that he had sexually assaulted the woman instead.
- He goes public with the story and it leads to people wondering whether a guilty man would really try to come in front of the public trying to prove his innocence. Media focus on this issue begins to grow immensely.
Jan 29th: Statement by Burning Sun
- Burning Sun CEOs Lee Sung Hyun and Lee Moon Ho issue a statement to apologize for the assault and to announce their full cooperation with the investigation. They also state that Seungri was not present at the club during the time of the incident and that he was seen rarely there.
Jan 30th:Testimonies from former employee
- KBS News reports that Seungri is no longer a Director at the club and had resigned only a week before. Testimony is also shown from a former employee which suggests possible illegal use of drugs in the club. There is suspicion over Seungri’s resignation.
Jan 31st: YG Entertainment Statement
- The CEO of YG Entertainment, the label under which Seungri is signed releases a statement. He states that Seungri was at the club until 3 am while the incident occurred past 6 am. He also confirms that Seungri had resigned from all business role to prepare for his mandatory military service.
Feb 2nd: Group Chat Reveal
- Seungri shares an apologetic statement via his Instagram. He claims once more that he was absent and had learned about the assault only a few days later. He further clarifies his role in the club and that operation and management are not under him.
- Meanwhile, Dispatch reveals a group chat between the Burning Sun Staff where they discuss ways to bring in easy girls in VIP rooms and watching VIP clients’ sexual interaction via CCTV. Seungri is not a part of this group.
Feb 13th: Police Investigation
Police raid the Burning Sun and take the CCTV footage along with programs related to possible complicity of other police officers. Data necessary to investigate further is also taken.
Feb 16th Seungri’s Apology To Fans
Before his concert on February 16 begins, Seungri apologises to fans about his lack of responsible action. He finishes with a promise that he would continue to do his best.
Feb 26th: Possible Prostitution Ring
SBS releases a KakaoTalk between Seungri and three other individuals, which implied that he would use sexual favors to gain the support of potential investors. Though the messages did not explicitly confirm if sexual favors were really exchanged, it was highly implied that such a thing had also been done before.
Hours later, YG Entertainment releases a statement claiming that the messages are fabricated and that they would take legal action against those who had done it. Shortly later, Seoul Police Department decide to look into the matter closely.
Feb 27th: Police Questioning
Seungri releases a statement through YG Entertainment assuring that he would fully cooperate with the authorities so that the matter would be quickly resolved. He later arrives at the police station for further questioning.
Feb 28th: Cancellation of tour
Before his arrival at the police station, Seungri cancels all of his upcoming tours. He is questioned for over eight hours. He is tested for drugs and also questioned for the allegations made against him. Later, Seungri is revealed to have tested negative for the drug tests.
Mar 8th: Enlistment in the army
Seungri announces that he would join the army as an active duty soldier on 25 March.
Mar 9th: Fan Backlash
The online fan community DC BigBang Gallery releases a petition for the removal of Seungri from the group. This creates an online fan war between the fandom.
Mar 10th: KakaoTalk Real
Police issue a search warrant where they find related information to the sexual escort service allegations. The KakaoTalk message is confirmed to be authentic. Seungri gets booked under the charges of violating South Korea’s Acts on Pimping and Prostitution.
Mar 11th: Seungri’s Retirement
The police reveal more celebrities also in the KakaoTalk and call them in as witnesses. Seungri is prohibited from leaving the country. SBS releases another report which claims that a total of eight people are in the chat. It is believed that the chat would share videos of men and women engaging in sexual intercourse. The women were unaware that they were being filmed. Jung Joon Young, a variety star gets revealed to be one of the individuals who shared illegal camera footage. At least 10 victims are confirmed.
Shortly later, Seungri announces his retirement from the entertainment industry to save the honour of Big Bang and YG Entertainment.
Mar 12th: Jung Joon Young’s involvement
Jung Joon Young returns to Korea to cooperate with the police investigations. He is also removed from various shows like 2 Days& 1 Night and Salty Tour. He will be edited out of episodes already filmed. SBS report on messages from July 2016 which suggest police cover ups.
Mar 13th: Jung Joon Confesses
Jung Joon Young admits to his crimes. YG Entertainment confirms that Seungri’s contract is terminated. YTN report that FT ISLAND’s Choi Jong Hoon used his connections to cover up a drunk driving incident from February 2016. He had discussed this incident in the group chat. The former Korea Police Commissioner Kang Shin Myung denies allegations that he is involved in the group chat. Current Police Commissioner Min Gap Ryong, says that he will look deeper into this investigation.
Mar 14th: Nationwide Investigation
Commissioner General Min Gap Ryong announces his plan to have a nationwide investigation of clubs across South Korea. The investigation will focus on drugs,sexual assault, hidden cameras and also on corruption in the police.
Meanwhile, Choi Jong Hoon announces his retirement from FT ISLAND. Seungri is found to have gambled overseas which is illegal for a Korean citizen. SBS reports CNBLUE’s Lee Jong Hyun had also filmed women without their knowledge.
Mar 18th: Seungri’s Military Delay
Jung Joon Young completes his second round of interview while Seungri submits an official request to postpone his military enlistment. Public believe that it is done so as to escape the harsher punishment under the military court.
Mar 20th: Seungri’s Military Officially Postponed
Seungri’s military enlistment is now officially postponed.
Mar 21st: Jung Joon Young Arrested
Jung Joon Young admits to all charges and is arrested while Choi Jong Hoon is booked for trying to bribe a police officer for the cover-up of his drunken driving incident in 2016.
As of now,no official charges have been made against Seungri. He has claimed that the messages were fake, were just a joke and also that he had tried to stop the others. With such conflicting statements, it is really not hard to believe why the public of Korea no longer have any faith in him and why this k-pop scandal has become of the biggest ever scandals in the history of k-pop scandals.