SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” has revealed the extent of Choi Jong Hoon’s ties to Senior Superintendent Yoon, the police officer previously suspected of misusing his position to help cover up criminal activity in the celebrity chatroom controversy.
On the March 18 broadcast of the show, SBS reported that Choi Jong Hoon had talked with its production staff on March 2 through a phone interview to reveal his relationship with Senior Superintendent Yoon.
According to the report, when Choi Jong Hoon was asked about Yoon, he replied, “Higher-ups in the police? That’s right. I think I know of some.” He then sent a photo of the Senior Superintendent to SBS.
Choi Jong Hoon continued, “We’ve played golf together once. I heard that he was in the Blue House. He has experience being in the police.” In early 2018, Choi Jong Hoon, former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk, Senior Superintendent Yoon, and Yoon’s wife had played golf together. Yoon, who served as an administrator at the presidential office of civil affairs at the time, and Yoon’s wife, a resident officer who worked in Malaysia, played golf with celebrities and businessmen.
Choi Jong Hoon had also shared concert tickets with Yoon’s wife. He stated, “[His wife] lives in Malaysia with their kids. So when I had a concert in Malaysia, I gave her tickets. I also know Senior Superintendent Yoon’s wife’s phone number.” The concert tickets had been VVIP tickets worth 210 thousand won (approximately $186) and VIP tickets worth 150 thousand won (approximately $132).
Choi Jong Hoon then mentioned Senior Superintendent Yoon and Yoo In Suk’s relationship, saying, “I think they’re very close. [Yoo] told me that [Yoon] is in the Blue House, so he’s very high ranking, and that I should take care of them when I give them concert tickets.”
In response to this, Senior Superintendent Yoon stated, “We played golf and had a meal, but I didn’t have those requests.”
Although Choi Jong Hoon talked openly about Senior Superintendent Yoon through this phone call, when he arrived at the police station for questioning on March 17, he denied these ties. When asked about his relationship with the police officer, Choi Jong Hoon had answered, “I have no connection [to the former officer].”
Previously, Choi Jong Hoon confessed to his past drunk driving incident but denied having collusive ties with the police.
Police question 2 women linked to accusations of Seungri areanging prostitutes for business partners
Newsis has reported that the police have questioned two women related to the accusations against Seungri that he arranged sexual escort services for foreign investors.
The outlet reports that according to the police on March 18, the metropolitan investigation unit of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency recently questioned two women who were mentioned in Seungri’s KakaoTalk group chatroom and have been under suspicion of providing services as prostitutes. The women were brought in for questioning as witnesses.
It was previously reported that in the chatroom, Seungri had said to someone named Employee Kim, “prepare a spot in the main area of Club Arena and call the girls” for a foreign investor and the people with her. The chatroom, which also involved people such as former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk, went on to include further conversations about preparing prostitutes for the guests.
The women told police on March 18, “It’s true that we were present there, but there was nothing like prostitution services.”
Meanwhile, the police have stated that they have obtained a separate significant testimony for the case that backs up the suspicions of arranging services from prostitutes.
Lee Hong Ko reassures fans about FTISLAND’s future following Choi Jong Hoon’s departure
FTISLAND’s Lee Hong Ki gave fans some words of reassurance at a recent concert in Hong Kong.
During the opening, he relayed his sincere apology to the fans and said, “FTISLAND was going to perform in Hong Kong, but I’m so sorry that it was canceled. But I still came. Although I’m the only one, I still came.”
Then he continued, “It will be a slightly different performance from FTISLAND, but it will still be fun. It’s my last solo concert [before I enter the military]. There’s been a lot of things going on lately, and I want to tell you, I haven’t changed, and I want to interact with you through music.”
With a smile, Lee Hong Ki assured, “I know everyone is worried a lot. There will be more FTISLAND performances in the future, so don’t worry. You have to promise me that. Come visit Korea because there is a performance in Korea.”
He also thanked everyone on Instagram after the concert and wrote, “There were so many people here that I couldn’t take all the pictures. Thank you. While singing ‘Thank You’ today, the lyrics touched my heart. I’ll do my best to sing. Good night, GNworld.”
Jung Joon Young could receive prison sentence of up to 7 years and 6 months
The singer is currently being charged for filming and sharing hidden camera footage of sexual acts in a chatroom. The chatroom included other male celebrities, CEOs, and non-celebrity friends, who engaged in other illicit activities such as alleged solicitation of prostitution, bribing of law enforcement officials, and more.
On the March 18 broadcast of “Section TV,” lawyer Oh Soo Jin explained that in addition to the illegal filming and sharing of hidden camera footage, there could be additional charges of solicitation of prostitution brought against Jung Joon Young. “In the event that one person commits several crimes,” said the lawyer, “the punishment can be up to 1.5 times the crime with the longer sentence.” The lawyer added that according to the law in 2015 and 2016 (when the crime was committed), the maximum sentence is five years, which, with additional time for solicitation of prostitution, could come to a total maximum sentence of seven years and six months.
Yesterday, police requested an arrest warrant for Jung Joon Young.
Meanwhile, an exclusive report by Edaily said today that Jung Joon Young’s Korean restaurant in Paris, Maison de Corée (meaning “Korean House”), looks like it won’t be opening following the criminal charges against the singer, who holds a 50 percent stake in the business. A source involved in the project said, “The experts that had worked with Jung Joon Young based on their common interest in the food and restaurant business have all returned to Korea after the two-week pop-up event (from October 19 to November 17), and there has been no recent communication.”
Police crack down on spread of Jung Joon Young’s spread of hidden camera footage and related rumours online
On March 19, the National Police Agency stated that they will take special measures to prevent secondary damages caused by the diffusion of illegally-taken footage and related false rumors on social media.
After the first reports of Jung Joon Young sharing illegal hidden camera footage in chatrooms, the phrase “Jung Joon Young’s videos” rose to the list of real-time most-searched phrases on Korean portal sites. A list of speculated victims also circulated online, causing several celebrities to deny any relation to the issue.
Under current law, spreading illegally-taken footage leads to a punishment of fewer than five years in prison and less than 30 million won (approximately $26,556) in fines, and spreading false rumors leads to a punishment of fewer than seven years in prison and less than 50 million won (approximately $44,260) in fines. The police clarified that simply uploading the video to a group chatroom or sending it to another person is also an action subject to punishment. Moreover, encouraging someone to upload the illegal footage can also be punished as incitement or aiding and abetting.
The police are actively cracking down on those spreading the hidden camera footage on pornographic sites, social media, and P2P file sharing sites by using a system that shows the uploader’s IP address and region.
A source from the National Police Agency stated, “Taking illegal camera footage and spreading false information are crimes that damage human dignity. We will be sure to arrest and take strict action against those uploading and spreading illegal footage and those creating and spreading false rumors related to the footage.”
Choi Jong Hoon criticised for liking photo of himself at the police station on Instagram
It was recently reported that on March 17, Choi Jong Hoon liked a fan’s Instagram post featuring a photo of him attending his police investigation. It was also reported that he liked a new post from one of the accounts he follows.
On March 16, Choi Jong Hoon was summoned for questioning for spreading illegally taken photos and videos and for allegedly asking a police officer to cover up his drunk driving incident. His questioning ended after 21 hours on March 17 at 6:45 a.m. KST.
Many have become enraged at Choi Jong Hoon’s attitude as his activities on social media occurred the same day that his questioning concluded. After leaving FTISLAND and announcing his retirement from the entertainment industry, he stated that he would reflect on his actions. His actions on social media have been criticized as they appear to be contradictory to his statement.
Seungri suspected of removing evidence on his Instagram regarding ties to police
On March 18, TV Chosun’s “Current Events Show: This Is Politics” (literal title) reported that Seungri is currently being suspected of concealing evidence by recently deleting photos of himself in police uniform.
Commentator Go Sung Kook stated, “From what I’m aware of, [the fact that he deleted the photos] can be verified by the National Scientific, Criminal & Investigation Laboratory. It won’t be difficult for them to find out whose name is on that name tag. They just need to investigate it.”
Seungri uploaded the photos of himself in police uniform and the caption “Salute” in an Instagram post on November 25, 2014. On September 12 of the same year, Seungri was involved in a car accident on the Gangbyeon Expressway. At the time, he was under suspicion of driving under the influence, but the accident was reported to have occurred because of speeding.
The singer has been suspected of concealing evidence as the timing of his upload of the photos and deleting the photos lines up with his being suspected of driving drunk and his ties to the police, respectively. Some are even beginning to wonder if the police uniform belongs to Senior Superintendent Yoon, the police officer suspected of misusing his position to cover up criminal activity in the chatroom controversy.
In response, Senior Superintendent Yoon stated, “I didn’t know Seungri in 2014, and I didn’t even know the group BIGBANG. I will hold responsible those who report on speculations, without even confirming with the involved parties, for defamation.”
Warrants for Jung Joon Young and more involved in Burning Sun case and hidden camera controversies
Arrest warrants may soon be issued for Jung Joon Young and two other individuals involved in various cases with the controversial club Burning Sun and the sharing of illegally taken videos.
On March 19, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division revealed that the request to issue arrest warrants for Jung Joon Young and Mr. Kim, a former employee at Burning Sun, has been submitted to the court by the prosecution.
According to the police, the two are being charged with filming and sharing hidden camera videos and photos of sexual activity in group chatrooms with their friends. Mr. Kim is also suspected of setting up the cameras. On March 15, the police searched the homes of both Jung Joon Young and Mr. Kim for evidence following the first round of questioning for Jung Joon Young.
The police also requested a warrant to be issued for Mr. Jang, Burning Sun’s director from the initial assault case. If the warrant is issued, Mr. Jang will go through interrogation as a suspect of physically attacking Kim Sang Kyo, the man who spoke out about being assaulted by Mr. Jang and several other Burning Sun employees.
In order to finalize the issue of a warrant, a judge has to directly question the suspect following the submission of the warrant request. The questioning by the judge usually takes place two days after the submission, so Jung Joon Young and the other two suspects are predicted to be interrogated on March 21.
Senior Officer and former CEO of Yuri Holdings banned from leaving the country
Senior Superintendent Yoon and Yoo In Suk, the former CEO of Yuri Holdings, have both been banned from leaving the country.
On March 19, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division revealed that they are in the process of booking Chief Superintendent Kim, the wife of Senior Superintendent Yoon, who is under suspicion of corruption ties with Seungri.
Choi Jong Hoon previously stated that he gave Yoon’s wife VIP tickets to a K-pop concert in Malaysia and played golf with Yoon’s wife, Yoon, former CEO of Yuri Holdings Yoo In Suk, and actress Park Han Byul. The police are still investigating the details behind the golf meeting and the K-pop concert ticket exchange. The police requested a search warrant for Yoon’s bank account statements on March 18.
In July 2016, Seungri opened a club named Monkey Museum in the Gangnam district of Seoul. Monkey Museum received criminal punishment and a fine for violating the Food Sanitation Act before. The police are now investigating whether or not this was covered up by the police for a bribe. The police have banned Yoon and former CEO Yoo from leaving the country because they are the two main people who are key to this investigation.
Mr. Kim, the man who spoke up about being allegedly assaulted at Burning Sun, arrived at Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency this morning to be investigated after being accused of defamation.
Also, on March 19, Burning Sun’s CEO Lee Moon Ho appeared at the Seoul Central District Court for questioning. The club’s MD (merchandiser, also known as promoter), a Chinese woman who goes by the nickname “Anna,” came to the police for a second interrogation. She has been under suspicion of selling drugs to VIP customers at Burning Sun.
Seungri’s request to postpone enlistment officially being reviewed
The Military Manpower Administration has begun reviewing Seungri’s request to postpone his enlistment.
Seungri submitted the official request to the Seoul Regional Military Manpower Administration on the afternoon of March 18. However, the power of attorney and letter of approval were incomplete, and the Military Manpower Administration requested that he turn in the missing documents. Seungri prepared the necessary documents once again and resubmitted the request to the Seoul Regional Military Manpower Administration by fax at night.
A source from the Military Manpower Administration stated on March 19, “The documents came in this morning and became formally ready [to be reviewed]. We began reviewing it today. The results will be out tomorrow, and when the results come out, we will inform Seungri. We cannot presuppose the results yet. We will carefully look over the request in a lawful manner.”
According to Seungri’s lawyer Son Byung Ho, Seungri requested to delay his enlistment on the basis that he is “a person who has an impediment to fulfilling his military duty due to other extenuating circumstances” as written in Article 129 (Postponement of Date of Enlistment, etc.) of the Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act.
In this case, one can request to postpone one’s enlistment for a maximum of three months. According to the Military Manpower Administration, one is normally expected to write the number of days they are requesting to delay, but even if the section is not filled in, one’s enlistment can normally be delayed for three months. However, if Seungri has to delay his enlistment again for the same reason, he can only do so one more time, and the documents have to be submitted to the Seoul Regional Military Manpower Administration again.
In the case that the Military Manpower Administration does not approve his request, Seungri would have to enlist on March 25 as planned. His case would be transferred to the military police, and the investigation would be handled jointly with the police.
News outlet Newsis states that as of now, it appears likely that Seungri will be able to postpone his enlistment.
In a statement the Military Manpower Administration released on March 15, they revealed that there had been a case of the governmental body granting a request to postpone someone’s enlistment due to investigations.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Division also sent an official document to the Seoul Regional Military Manpower Administration asking to delay Seungri’s enlistment.
Meanwhile, on March 18, the Military Manpower Administration announced their plans to make an amendment to the law to prevent people from enlisting as a way of escaping from reality.
Seungri denies allegations of prostitution services and gambling, says he was “bluffing”
Seungri has spoken up about his recent controversies through a phone interview with Sisa Journal.
On March 19, media outlet Sisa Journal released an exclusive report of Seungri’s interview where he denied allegations of providing prostitution services and traveling overseas to gamble. The media outlet was able to interview Seungri through his lawyer Son Byung Ho.
During the interview, Seungri stated, “Didn’t all of these events begin with the conversations from the KakaoTalk [chatrooms]? Just as we wrote ‘police chief,’ we were just fools, just friends who were bluffing and showing off without knowing anything.” On March 13, a certain individual in the chatroom mentioned a “police chief,” saying he “has my back.” However, because the phrase used for “police chief” contained a typo, many suspected that the word actually referred to the “Commissioner General of the police” or the “Public Prosecutor General” as all three phrases are very similar in Korean. It was later revealed that the “police chief” in question was a senior superintendent officer.
Seungri continued, “These things have caused a public opinion [that I’m involved in] tax evasion and police collusion. Honestly, I’m in a situation where even if I tell the truth, no one will believe it. Even the investigators believe that the contents of the KakaoTalk [chatrooms] are all true and considered evidence. [Sigh] I’m afraid I won’t be judged fairly to be right or wrong due to the fact that I’m famous and a celebrity. Because I feel sorry to the people of Korea, aren’t I in a position where I can’t complain of the injustice or make rebuttals? Finally, to add one more thing, there was no overseas gambling, nor were there prostitution services.”
Sisa Journal had previously revealed messages that showed Seungri and his business partner from 2014 known as “A” engaging in habitual gambling abroad. In response to this report, Seungri stated, “When I said that I earned money during that time, or when I sent pictures of money, I was just bluffing and lying. I wanted to show off, so I said things that weren’t even true. ‘A’ didn’t even see me gamble, nor was he there with me. You can find this if you confirm it with the hotel.” Seungri also referred to the business partner as a “scammer.”
The same day, Sisa Journal met with Seungri’s lawyer Son Byung Ho. The lawyer explained “A” and Seungri’s conversation from 2014 alluding to prostitution. The two had discussed which woman they should bring to their trip to Indonesia, and Seungri also presented photos and information about the ages, jobs, and personalities of various women, asking his business partner to choose a woman.
Lawyer Son Byung Ho explained that “A” had requested Seungri to introduce him to a woman who could accompany him to Indonesia as if she were his wife or girlfriend. He added that “A” had eventually gone to Indonesia with Seungri without any women accompanying them.
Sisa Journal then added that Seungri had sent a message that said, “I was in the wrong. I shouldn’t have gotten involved with those guys and done those things.”
Former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk issues statement regarding connection to senior police officer + contents of the chatroom
Former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk has issued a statement in which he addresses his connection to Senior Superintendent Yoon and more.
Yoo In Suk, who has been Seungri’s business partner, was previously described by SBS as the “problem solver” of the controversial group chatroom, which includes Seungri, Jung Joon Young, Choi Jong Hoon, and four other individuals. He is reported to be friendly with Senior Superintendent Yoon and was revealed to have helped cover up the news of Choi Jong Hoon’s drunk driving incident in 2016.
On March 19, MBC’s “Newsdesk” reported the contents of a letter they received from Yoo In Suk, which he described as a written apology. In it, he denies all accusations being made against him.
Yoo In Suk stated that he had not received any information from Yoon regarding the crackdown on Monkey Museum, the club that Yoo In Suk and Seungri had opened. He said that Yoon had only given him sincere advice as he told him, “You shouldn’t operate a business like that.”
However, Yoon has been booked as a suspect on suspicions of leaking official secrets. The police determined that Yoon had given a significant amount of information about the investigation to Yoo In Suk. “Newsdesk” stated that it appeared Yoo In Suk was taking Yoon’s side to cover up not only Yoon’s criminal charges, but also his own.
Yoo In Suk stated, “I followed Senior Superintendent Yoon as a hyung, and we of course had meals and played golf together a few times. I learned a lot from him. I am sorry for causing trouble for a person who has been an outstanding civil servant.”
In regards to the suspicions that Seungri had provided sexual escort services for foreign investors, Yoo In Suk said, “The content of the KakaoTalk conversations were jokes or false.”
The police are currently conducting an investigation into the suspicions of Seungri providing sexual escort services and more.
On March 19, both Yoo In Suk and Yoon were banned from leaving the country as the police are investigating whether Monkey Museum’s previous violation of the Food Sanitation Act was covered up by the police for a bribe.
Sources: Naver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14) and Edaily (1, 2) via Soompi (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)