i Chang Wook’s agency has denied rumors of close connections between the actor and “Madam Lin.”
The March 23 broadcast of SBS’s investigation program “Unanswered Questions” covered the Burning Sun incident and unveiled the identity of Madam Lin, a Taiwanese investor who owns 20 percent of Burning Sun’s shares. Photos of Madam Lin with Seungri, Ji Chang Wook, and other celebrities were shown, causing speculations to arise about Ji Chang Wook’s involvement in Burning Sun.
Below is the full statement from Ji Chang Wook’s agency Glorious Entertainment:
Hello, this is Glorious Entertainment.
Our company’s actor [Ji Chang Wook] has no relation to the individual in the photo that was shown in the broadcast. As a fan, she requested [for a photo together], and he agreed to it.
This situation is leading to the spread of false rumors, malicious rumors, and sexual harassment towards the company’s actor, causing serious damage to the actor’s reputation.
This is causing harm and pain to the actor, as well as his family and fans who are watching the situation.
We ask you to refrain from writing, posting, and spreading speculative rumors about the matter at hand.
By utilizing the reports we received [about false rumors] and personally monitoring [the internet], we will do our best to protect our actor.
Lastly, we thank the actor’s fans for always cheering for him and steadily sending him love.
SBS clarified their reasons for showing a photo of Ji Chang Wook with Madam Lin during the March 23 broadcast of “Unanswered Questions.”
A source from SBS’s “Unanswered Questions” stated, “We used photos of Madam Lin with celebrities to explain that she was acquainted with Korean celebrities. We were not suggesting that Ji Chang Wook was tied to the ‘Burning Sun Gate.'”
Kim Lim denies any involvement in recent controversy after being named by Seungri in an interview
Kim Lim, a Singaporean socialite and the daughter of the owner of soccer club Valencia CF, has personally spoken out about Seungri and his lawyer mentioning her name in recent interviews.
On March 23, an interview Seungri conducted with Chosun Ilbo was published and while talking about an allegation that he was trying to hire sexual escort services for foreign investors, he mentioned Kim Lim by name. He said, “In the Club Arena case, it’s regarding a woman from Singapore called Kimmy. She’s the daughter of a famous soccer club owner. I’ve received a lot of help from her, so I just wanted to look out for her.” According to him, the women were called to keep Kim Lim company. His lawyer made similar claims in an interview as well.
In response Kim Lim took to her personal Instagram account’s story function to speak up about the issue. Her statement reads as follows:
My name has been embroiled in the K-pop scandal that’s unfolding right now in South Korea.
Some time before the news broke, I received a phone call from Seungri. It turns out there has been a leaked conversation of him allegedly soliciting prostitutes for his investors. He asked me a few weird questions and hung up. I don’t know why he called me and how I was involved in this saga at all. Needless to say, after the call I was left completely confused.
When this news broke out, Seungri said the chat is entirely fabricated and that it’s fake news. However the police later says it isn’t.
Today, a media statement was released by Seungri’s lawyer telling his side of the story. The article suggested that he arranged for me to party together with other girls, which he claims are not prostitutes.
To clarify, on December 9, 2015, I was in Korea with my friends from Singapore. We went to Club Arena for a night out, and Seungri arranged for a VIP table for our group. We partied by ourselves and left after.
In no way were there other patrons or staff who accompanied our group. I certainly never asked for any “girls” to party with me. This can be vouched for by the four people who were part of our group that night.
I am embroiled in this matter simply because I happened to be there that night. I was simply at the wrong place and the wrong time.
Just to be clear, I had no inkling or idea of the alleged criminal activities going on in Burning Sun, Seungri’s businesses before this saga broke out. I’m not involved in any way whatsoever. Any media outlets which persist in reporting so will be hearing from my legal counsel.
Senior police officer's wife admits to receiving concert tickets through Choi Jong Hoon
Senior Superintendent Yoon’s wife Chief Superintendent Kim has admitted to receiving tickets to a K-pop concert from Choi Jong Hoon.
On March 24, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Provincial Special Detective Divison revealed that they had received a reply for an email inquiry that was sent to Chief Superintendent Kim. She is currently a resident officer in Malaysia.
In the email, Chief Superintendent Kim admitted to receiving tickets to a K-pop concert from Choi Jong Hoon. However, she denied playing golf with Seungri, Choi Jong Hoon, or any other celebrities. The police are currently discussing her return to Korea with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate how she received the tickets and whether Choi Jong Hoon received anything in return.
Previously, Senior Superintendent Yoon was booked for covering up criminal activity in the ongoing chatroom controversy. He has since been banned from leaving the country. Choi Jong Hoon spoke on his relationship with Senior Superintendent Yoon in a phone interview, where he admitted to playing golf with him and his wife Chief Superintendent Kim. He also admitted to giving her VVIP concert tickets worth 210 thousand won (approximately $186) and VIP tickets worth 150 thousand won (approximately $132).
Police say it's possible to check the missing data from Jung Joon Young's wiped-out phone
TV Chosun reports that Jung Joon Young attempted to destroy evidence.
Following the March 11 report that Jung Joon Young illegally filmed and shared sexual videos of women without their consent in a group chatroom, Jung Joon Young was brought in for questioning by the police on March 14 and handed in his phones, including his so-called “golden phone.”
He stated to the press as he left his first round of questioning, “I feel extremely apologetic. I answered diligently and truthfully. I also submitted the ‘golden phone‘ as is and told them everything truthfully. I am very sorry for causing trouble.”
The police have now said that during the analysis of the three phones that Jung Joon Young submitted, they found that he had attempted to destroy evidence.
The “golden phone” was submitted as it was, and so was a phone that he has been using up until recently.
The other phone had been reset to its factory default settings, and all the data has been deleted. The police have therefore been unable to restore the data on one of Jung Joon Young’s phones.
When the court announced Jung Joon Young’s arrest on the evening of March 21, it was stated that one of the reasons for his arrest were concerns about destruction of evidence considering the condition and contents of key physical evidence.
Jung Joon Young has also been accused of using ties to the police to get rid of the key evidence to his 2016 case against his ex-girlfriend.
The police are looking into the time and reason for Jung Joon Young’s phone reset.
UPDATE: The police have mentioned a possibility of checking what has been deleted from one of the three phones that Jung Joon Young turned in as evidence but was reset to its factory default settings.
On March 25, Min Gap Ryong, the Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency, revealed, “While there was some action done [to the phone] by the individual himself (Jung Joon Young), we have obtained other documents [in relation to the case], so we believe it will be possible for us to check what [the phone] originally consisted of by comparing it to the other documents.”
The police will be comparing the two other phones that were turned in by Jung Joon Young and the information that came out as a result of searching the digital forensics company, from which Jung Joon Young claims he recovered his broken phone in 2016 as well as the KakaoTalk messages that were transferred to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission. As a result, the police expect to find out what has been deleted from the phone although Jung Joon Young reset it to its factory default settings.
Aori Ramen sales plunge following Burning Sun Gate controversies
MBC’s “Newsdesk” recently revealed how the recent controversies related to “Burning Sun Gate” have affected Seungri’s former ramen restaurant franchise Aori Ramen.
On the March 25 broadcast of the show, MBC interviewed store-owners of Aori Ramen, which was commonly referred to as “Seungri’s ramen restaurant,” to listen to their stories.
According to “Newsdesk,” the fallout of the Burning Sun controversies directly affected Aori Ramen, as it was revealed that daily sales have fallen more than 70 percent.
There are 44 Aori Ramen restaurants in Korea, and seven stores scattered internationally. In an entertainment program last year, Seungri revealed that annual sales were estimated at 26 billion won (approximately $22.9 million). He also stated, “If I mess up, many people will be unable to receive their monthly pay, so I feel an immense sense of responsibility.” After the first reports about “Burning Sun Gate” broke in late January, however, sales began to drop.
One store-owner stated, “It’s like a dream. Something unimaginable has happened. The inside of my mouth is filled with sores. I can’t even speak to the staff.”
When “Newsdesk” compared the sales records of the franchise stores through a credit card company, they found that sales decreased 23 percent from January to February, following allegations of police corruption and sexual assault at the club Burning Sun, and 47 percent in March. When accusations of Jung Joon Young’s involvement in illegally filming his sexual partners were brought to light, sales plunged 74 percent.
Store-owners revealed that many have posted disclaimers to state that their stores have nothing to do with Seungri, except for some stores that opened in the early stages of the franchise’s establishment.
Additionally, although Aori Ramen’s headquarter company said on March 7 that it would return tens of millions of won in franchise fees to its store owners, the company has not proceeded with any further measures.
Agencies increase cautionary advice to their artists after Burning Sun Gate controversies
Following recent controversies that have shaken the industry, it’s reported by SpoTV News that entertainment agencies have increased prevention efforts with their artists.
In the ongoing “Burning Sun Gate” controversies, some celebrities have been accused of crimes and others have been criticized for their actions as friends of those at the center of the scandal. This has meant the end of the careers of many stars, with several announcing their retirement and departure from long-running idol groups and bands.
Seungri retired from the industry, Jung Joon Young announced a complete halt on his activities, Choi Jong Hoon left FTISLAND, and Yong Junhyung departed from Highlight. Lee Jong Hyun remains in CNBLUE, although some fans have demanded his removal from the band.
With several boy groups and bands in disarray following the controversies, it’s reported that many agencies have increased measures regarding their male artists for prevention.
It’s said that since an agency can’t control its artists with education alone, many companies are choosing to frequently give their artists concerned entreaties and warnings, rather than put restrictions on their actions.
A source in the entertainment industry said, “Male idols have been told that if they receive a strange video from friends, it would be better for them to curse at them.” They continued, “Since it is wrong to even watch illegally filmed videos, they are entreated to not even entertain a curiosity for them.”
They said that young rising rookie actors sometimes receive offers from famous seniors in the industry to come along and have fun with them. They find it hard to say no because they could run into them in the industry at some point, and it’s said that many accept the offer because of the opportunity to quickly get close with famous people.
SpoTV News describes this as a great issue from the agency’s standpoint. The invitations could simply be for gatherings where people socialize without any incidents, but it’s also easy for scandals to occur when hanging out and drinking at events like this with seniors in the industry that the rookies aren’t well acquainted with.
The report says that while in the past there was little justification for declining such offers, after the controversy surrounding Jung Joon Young and the group chatroom, people are being suspected as accomplices just for socializing with a certain group. People in charge are therefore telling rookies, “As much as possible, don’t attend social gatherings that have no clear purpose, and be wary of the intentions behind them.”
Woman gives testimony about possibly being drugged at Burning Sun + alleged police corruption
SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” has reported another instance of Burning Sun’s alleged collusive ties with the police.
On the March 27 broadcast of the show, an informant, Ms. Kim, spoke with SBS about possibly being drugged at Burning Sun and being accused of being a violent assailant by the Gangnam Police Station.
According to SBS, Ms. Kim testified that after visiting Burning Sun in December, she seemed to have been drugged by someone. She revealed that soon after making her way into the club, she was given a glass of champagne by a Chinese man. She stated, “After drinking a glass of champagne, I opened my eyes and I was in the police station. My drinking limit is one or two bottles, so something was weird.”
At the police station, Ms. Kim was told that she had been arrested for assaulting a club MD (promoter) at Burning Sun.
She stated, “I didn’t remember anything, and the police kept saying that there was CCTV footage of me pushing people. I knelt and begged in front of the victim (club MD), but he kept saying it was no use.”
Ms. Kim suspected that she had been sexually abused because her physical condition was different from usual, but she was unable to receive proper hospital treatment because she felt distraught. According to Ms. Kim, her entire body had been covered in bruises. She said, “You know when you grab someone really firmly, and you get bruises? Round ones. What I regret the most is not going to the hospital that day.”
Ms. Kim’s father, who was surprised by the news that his daughter had suddenly become a violent assailant, also revealed, “I asked [the club promoter] if he had grabbed my daughter by the collar even just once, but the MD said with a straight face that Burning Sun is a club where you get fired even if your hands just momentarily brush against the collar of your guests.”
Ms. Kim requested a drug test from the police as she couldn’t remember anything despite drinking much less than usual, but the police officer in charge rushed to Kim and said, “This isn’t it. This is weird.” He then took the drug test kit and threw it away. Kim eventually paid a fine of 1 million won (approximately $879) after the police stated that there was clear evidence she was a perpetrator of violence, and she was unable to question them.
Kim’s father further testified that he was only told by the police, “Even if someone did use drugs such as Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or methamphetamine, it’s impossible to catch them.” Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a drug suspected of being used to rape women.
When SBS later questioned the police in charge about this, he stated, “When I said it’s strange, I was talking about the drug test kit.” The police officer also explained that Ms. Kim had tested negative for drugs after he proceeded with investigations with a different drug test kit. Although SBS tried to search for documents confirming his statements, the investigation report only stated that the CCTV footage from Burning Sun had been deleted, and SBS was unable to find any mentions of drug testing from the case.
Kim has since demanded a re-investigation of the case and has sued four police officers for dereliction of duty.
Sources: Naver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) via Soompi (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)