Seoul prosecutors denied a newspaper claim they let singer Park Bom off the hook for drug smuggling four years ago.
A Segye Ilbo report on Monday revealed that Korean customs officers caught Park trying to import 82 amphetamine pills through international shipping in October 2010. Amphetamines are banned in Korea, and the newspaper questioned why the prosecution suspended its indictment of Park.
In response to the article, prosecution officials said Park had been legally prescribed amphetamines for her medical conditions when she lived in the United States.
"Smuggling and using amphetamine is a crime punishable by five-plus years in prison, so of course we are very careful in indicting people over this," a prosecution official said. "We took a hard look at the information, and there was no preferential treatment for Park.
"Through our investigation, we confirmed that Park had been prescribed amphetamines in the U.S. When she came to Korea, she felt that the drugs that contained no amphetamines did not work as well, so she ordered amphetamine pills based on what she had been prescribed in the U.S.”
Park is a member of 2NE1, one of the country’s most popular girl pop groups. Yang Hyun-suk, head of YG Entertainment, which manages 2NE1, criticized the Segye Ilbo report and briefly explained Park’s medical condition in a letter posted on the company’s website.
When she was a schoolgirl in the U.S., Park suffered psychological shock after witnessing a friend die during a soccer game, according to Yang. She received counseling and treatment and the drugs prescribed at an American hospital included amphetamines.