Getty Photos | AP Picture
Korean singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young (left), Seungri, a former member of the Ok-pop boy band Massive Bang (heart), and Choi Jong-Hoon (proper), previously of rock band FT Island, have been questioned by police in relation to prison investigations linked to leaked group chat messages.
Final yr noticed the start of South Korea’s #MeToo motion when Web optimization Ji-Hyun, a prosecutor from Seoul, spoke out after she was groped by a senior colleague. Since then, girls throughout totally different industries have slowly began to speak about their private experiences of abuse and harassment.
Now, a leak of specific group chats involving a number of high-profile males in leisure has led to calls from the general public to reinvestigate incidents of an analogous nature the place males weren’t prosecuted.
The particular person on the heart of the newest scandal is Seungri, a 28-year-old Ok-pop star who was the youngest member of the boy band Massive Bang, one among South Korea’s greatest idol teams and one of many first Ok-pop acts to start out touring worldwide.
Nonetheless, for the primary time, girls in South Korea are seeing concrete outcomes for his or her efforts to get their voices heard by way of social media, and there may be the hope that maybe, this time, the lads concerned — and others earlier than them — will truly be held accountable for his or her actions.
On the finish of February, a reporter from South Korean broadcaster SBS FunE bought a maintain of specific movies and messages from a gaggle chat on South Korean messaging app KakaoTalk that concerned a number of high-profile males within the leisure trade allegedly arranging prostitutes for international buyers, recording specific movies of ladies with out their consent, and distributing the footage within the chat.
The messages had been anonymously emailed to a lawyer by a whistleblower after somebody within the group chat despatched their telephone in for restore. It isn’t clear whether or not the whistleblower was the particular person repairing the telephone, in line with Korean information company, Yonhap.
The id of the one that despatched their telephone in for restore was later revealed to be Jung Joon-young, a 30-year-old singer-songwriter, who has since been arrested.
The lawyer, Bang Jung Hyun, despatched an archive of the messages, which he mentioned spanned eight months, to SBS FunE and reported the case to South Korea’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Fee after he discovered messages associated to an ongoing investigation right into a nightclub known as Burning Solar.
[1/2] Lawyer Bang talks about #Seungri #BurningSun #JungJoonYoung Please learn until the top #김현정의토크쇼 https://t.co/wRiFDzg9xf
01:52 PM – 13 Mar 2019
On March 10, Seungri was booked on prices of violating anti-prostitution legal guidelines and known as in for questioning by police over allegations of drug use and arranging prostitutes for international buyers at nightclubs he has ties to. Police mentioned they’d additionally booked three to 4 different individuals who on the time have been unnamed.
The identical day, police additionally searched a nightclub known as Area, the place Seungri had apparently illegally provided prostitutes in December 2015 to an unnamed international investor, in line with the messages. Prostitution is a criminal offense in South Korea punishable with imprisonment for 3 years.
South Korean information outlet Sisa Press additionally printed messages that appeared to point out a dialog between Seungri and his enterprise accomplice previous to a visit to Indonesia, when Seungri allegedly provided totally different girls to the enterprise accomplice and requested how a lot he would pay the ladies. The screenshots seem to point out Seungri mentioning the value of 10 million gained ($10,000).
The following day, Seungri shocked his followers by asserting that he was retiring from music.
Chung Sung-jun / Getty Photos
Seungri is seen arriving on the Seoul Metropolitan Police Company on March 14, 2019.
The 28-year-old and his label, YG Leisure, have repeatedly denied the allegations and mentioned that the messages have been fabricated. Seungri’s enterprise accomplice, Yoo In Suk, a co-CEO of funding firm Yuri Holdings, has additionally denied accusations that he himself was additionally concerned within the group chats.
Seungri had already been questioned in February as a part of the investigation into Burning Solar nightclub, the place he was the general public relations director.
Police had begun investigating the nightclub after a person named Kim Sang Kyo mentioned he was assaulted by the membership’s workers when he was serving to a lady who had been sexually harassed there.
Kim mentioned that the assault left him with damaged ribs, however he was himself additionally positioned underneath arrest and additional assaulted by police.
On the time, police initially responded to the report by saying the person was obstructing the membership’s enterprise. Kim created a petition demanding justice, which gained over 200,000 signatures.
[only translating some part] On this chat, Seungri offers out the feminine ‘selections’ (from 1 to five) to the consumer. E.g. #1 likes a little bit bit of cash, charming, + good visuals, #three has good visuals, enjoyable, gifted, however there is a draw back when she’s drunk.
09:58 AM – 14 Mar 2019
The investigations into the messages from the group chat additionally revealed the existence of group chats the place males have been sharing sexually specific movies of ladies who seem like unaware that they have been being filmed.
In South Korea, there was a rising drawback of tiny hidden cameras which might be used to document individuals in altering rooms, bedrooms, bogs, and in numerous personal areas. The specific movies — often called “molka” — are sometimes distributed throughout the web on porn web sites.
On March 11, Jung, who would later be revealed because the proprietor of the telephone despatched in for restore, was named as a participant within the group chat. He has been accused of sharing 10 movies of ladies over a 10-month interval.
Ahn Younger-joon / AP
Jung Joon-young arrives on the Seoul Metropolitan Police Company on March 14, 2019.
His company initially denied the allegations. Jung had been overseas on the time however apologized on the airport upon returning to the nation on March 12. He launched an announcement later that day admitting to the allegations.
A day later, South Korean media retailers named one other member of the group chat as Choi Jong-Hoon, 29, a member of South Korean rock band FT Island. Choi reportedly despatched a message to the group chat speaking about being caught drunk driving and allegedly asking a police officer to take care of it with out the general public realizing.
Choi’s label later mentioned that, after checking with him, Choi did pay a 2.5 million gained ($2,500) effective for drink driving and had his license suspended for 100 days in February 2016. His label mentioned that he would cooperate with the police of their investigation and whereas the investigation is happening, he would halt all actions with the label.
Jung and Choi gave the impression to be concerned in an alternate the place Jung mentioned, “Let’s all meet on-line and go to a strip bar and rape in a automotive.”
Somebody solely named as Park then responded, “We do this in actual life too, .”
Choi agreed, and Park added, “This can be a film. Give it some thought for 5 minutes. We simply didn’t homicide, lots of bastards have gone to jail for that.”
All eight members of the group chat have now been recognized. They’re: former Massive Bang member Seungri, Yoo, Jung, Choi, and 4 noncelebrities. The entire individuals in query have now retired from their respective companies and have been questioned by police.
Han Myung-gu / WireImage
Choi Jong-Hoon, arriving at a Seoul police station for questioning over a intercourse video scandal amongst a number of celebrities on March 16, 2019.
On March 14, Yong Jun-hyung, a member of the Ok-pop group Spotlight, additionally introduced that he was retiring from the leisure trade, although he was not concerned within the group chat. Yong mentioned that he had began speaking to Jung on the finish of 2015 and admitted to participating in “very inappropriate conversations.”
CNBLUE member Lee Jong Hyun has additionally admitted that he additionally considered specific hidden digicam footage, regardless of not being within the group chat. He’s presently nonetheless within the navy.
Jjy: lets do a meetup on-line, go to a strip bar after which rape her/them within the automotive
Park: we already do this irl
Choi (singer): true
Park: dude this is sort of a film. Give it some thought for simply 5 minutes. We havent murdered anybody however we might get arrested for a lot
12:07 PM – 12 Mar 2019
Following the scandal, the South Korean public has been shining a highlight on earlier circumstances the place males have been mentioned to have abused their energy, such because the demise of Jang Ja-yeon, an actor who killed herself in 2009.
Jang had left a observe the place she accused her agent of forcing her to provide sexual favors to 31 high-profile leisure figures and journalists. Her agent was not recognized however was arrested in July 2009 and charged for coercing her. He was given a one-year jail sentence.
A number of the 31 individuals Jang accused in her observe have been investigated by the police on the time however have been acquitted, in line with the Korea Occasions. The names of the 31 individuals have been withheld by SBS TV out of privateness issues.
Because the statute of limitations on Jang’s case runs out on the finish of March, individuals campaigned on social media to get Jang’s case retried by getting South Korea’s president to increase the time.
I will make 1k tweets alone if I’ve to.
Please signal the petition:
There are solely 14 days left to signal it, so please get as many signatures as potential to emphasise the significance of Jang Jayeon’s case.
07:02 PM – 14 Mar 2019
Scariest half about Jang Ja Yeon’s case is that four actresses from the identical firm had consecutive ‘suicides’ & all of them didn’t have a hand written will. 2 had none, 1 was by way of unidentified textual content & one other by way of her mini homepage, each digitally that are simply manipulated
04:18 AM – 13 Mar 2019
The opposite three girls have been in the identical company with Jang Ja Yeon and so they have been concluded to have taken their lives as a result of despair. I hope Koreans protest in Gwanghwamun sq. if this will get sweeped underneath the rug once more. https://t.co/IX5jNrT7pE
05:31 PM – 12 Mar 2019
The marketing campaign obtained help from actor Yoon Ji-oh, who mentioned she had seen a few of the names on the letters in query. She posted to Instagram saying she believes the late actor was sexually assaulted and testified at a trial of a reporter who was accused of sexually assaulting Jang on March 18.
Yoon Ji Oh posted this cover on her Instagram
“The late Jang Jayeon’s scandal, she wasn’t provided for sexual providers, she was sexually assaulted. I’ll restore her tarnished dignity.”
03:54 AM – 20 Mar 2019
Issues about police corruption in Seungri’s case additionally led to rising help for a petition that was began on March 12 as a last-minute marketing campaign to make sure that Jang’s case was not forgotten about earlier than the statute of limitations ends. It now has greater than 670,000 signatures.
Many Ok-pop followers are mistaken. This isn’t an incident of 1 idol.
That is the drug and prostitution scandal that came about in Korea, and the group that led it was politicians and conglomerates.
And these are police corruption scandals that haven’t punished them for years.
05:43 PM – 11 Mar 2019
On March 18, South Korean President Moon Jae-in responded by placing in an emergency order, which can enable prosecutors two extra months to research Jang’s case.
The president additionally mentioned there might be thorough investigation into one other case involving former vice justice minister Kim Hak-ui.
문재인 대통령은 오늘 장자연·김학의·버닝썬 사건과 관련해 “공소시효가 끝난 일은 그대로 사실 여부를 가리고, 공소시효가 남은 범죄 행위가 있다면 반드시 엄정한 사법처리를 해 주기 바랍니다”라며 철저한 수사와 조사를 지시했습니다.
07:56 AM – 18 Mar 2019
Kim was accused of raping girls and receiving sexual providers that have been organized for by a developer who was in search of enterprise favors from the then–senior prosecution official.
Kim went on to develop into the vice justice minister and later resigned when the allegations surfaced. He was cleared in 2013, however there have been doubts by the Justice Ministry if the prosecution had correctly investigated his case, in line with the Korea Herald.
The president has assured the general public and mentioned that thorough investigations wouldn’t solely be carried out within the previous circumstances, but additionally within the one involving Seungri.
Regardless of the federal government’s bulletins, individuals are nonetheless encouraging the general public to proceed signing the petition about Jang with the intention to get much more time and to maintain the discussions going.
Unlucky how this entire investigation has been framed as a “k-pop factor”. The story struck a chord b/c girls in South Korea need an finish to the hidden digicam epidemic, sexual violence, and the tradition of ladies abuse perpetuated by highly effective, rich males in numerous industries.
07:24 AM – 14 Mar 2019
#jjy #seungri #yg #정준영 #승리 #JungJoonYoun and that is one thing that has been taking place however girls haven’t been in a position to convey it to mild and reveal these every day sexual assault points
07:54 AM – 15 Mar 2019
On Thursday, Jung was arrested after showing in courtroom and admitting to all the fees. He has been dropped by his administration firm.
Choi’s administration firm additionally mentioned it was terminating its contract with him.
Seungri has continued to disclaim the allegations, along with his lawyer occurring TV and saying that the textual content messages have been out of context and that the singer wasn’t arranging for a sexual escort however reasonably a lady to accompany the enterprise accomplice.
Seungri was questioned for the fourth time by police on Thursday, March 21, relating to a violation of the meals sanitation act at one among his golf equipment.
Hey @netflix, I am unsure when you’re conscious concerning the big #metoo scandal taking place in #Korea with #Seungri, however you would possibly wanna look into eradicating “YG Future Technique Workplace” someday quickly as a result of that piece of shit is on the helm of that present….
04:43 AM – 14 Mar 2019
Folks have additionally been calling on Netflix to take down a present that includes Seungri on Netflix titled YG Future Technique Workplace.
A Netflix spokesperson informed BuzzFeed Information that they’ve been knowledgeable of the allegations and “take the problem severely.”
“Now we have no plans for doing energetic promotion of this present,” the spokesperson mentioned. ●
Mar. 22, 2019, at 19:32 PM
Lee Jong-Hyun has not retired. A earlier model of this submit mentioned he had.
Mar. 22, 2019, at 20:15 PM
This story has been up to date to state that Jung Joon-young was the one that despatched their telephone in for restore.