The police have searched the houses of Choi Jong Hoon and two police officers due to investigations of covering up various criminal activities of Choi Jong Hoon and Jung Joon Young.
According to news outlet News 1 on March 28, the intelligence crime investigation unit from the Seoul National Police Agency conducted a search and seizure of the houses, cars, and bodies of Choi Jong Hoon, the police officer from Yongsan Police Station who was in charge of the musician’s drunk driving incident in 2016, and an employee at Seoul Seongdong Police Station who was in charge of Jung Joon Young’s previous hidden camera case.
In February 2016, Choi Jong Hoon was caught drunk driving in Itaewon, Seoul. As a result, he paid a fine of 2.5 million won (approximately $2,197) and got his license suspended for 100 days. However, the musician is currently being investigated for allegations of trying to cover up this incident by offering a police officer a bribe of 2 million won (approximately $1,758).
It is reported that the police also failed to acquire the cellphone of the police officer who was in charge of the drunk driving case. A source from the police said, “[Conducting a search] is part of the measures we are taking to look for the phone. By thoroughly analyzing all seized materials, we will reveal the truth behind the allegations.”
The police also recently confirmed the fact that Choi Jong Hoon tried to cover up the drunk driving incident by offering the police officer at the scene 2 million won (approximately $1,758). They are also looking into allegations of Yongsan Police Station officers failing to notify their superiors of the celebrity status of Choi Jong Hoon while handing the case over to Yongsan Police Station’s Traffic Investigation Section.
MBC reports Jung Joon Young's group chatrooms sharing hidden camera footage including 8 singers
On March 28, MBC’s “Newsdesk” reported that Jung Joon Young’s group chatrooms included 14 people, eight of whom are singers.
“Newsdesk” reports that the chatroom conversations were full of messages that disparaged women, and even included discussion of the possibility of using illegally filmed video as blackmail.
The chatrooms reportedly included Jung Joon Young, Seungri, Choi Jong Hoon, and Yong Junhyung, with eight singers in total. This includes newly identified singers referred to by MBC as “singer K” and “singer J.”
There was also model L, businessmen such as former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk, two Burning Sun MDs (merchandisers or promoters), and a friend of Jung Joon Young.
When reached out to for a comment, a representative of singer K said that they do remember being in a chatroom with Jung Joon Young, but not the sharing of illegal photos.
There are said to be seven chatrooms where hidden camera videos were shared, which had as few as three to four people or as many as six to seven people.
The police have found in their investigation that after videos were shared in the chatrooms, the participants would talk about them as though bragging. In addition, Seungri’s acquaintance Mr. Kim filmed a sexual video of a victim who owed him a debt. He said, “Should I release this video if she doesn’t pay up?” and shared the video in a chatroom.
MBC also reports some of what the police have found while investigating Jung Joon Young. In 2016, he shared a photo of a woman’s body in a chatroom with male celebrity friends. The photo was of a woman who was sitting ahead of him on an airplane. 30 seconds later, he sent the photo in another chatroom with celebrity friends.
Police have found that he filmed women in locations including a hotel in Taiwan, his apartment, a restaurant in Gangnam, an adult entertainment establishment, and in an airplane. The videos were also shared at various times of the day, including the middle of the night and the afternoon.
Most of the videos are less than 10 seconds long, and were taken without the woman’s awareness. It’s reported that he was caught by a woman he’d filmed in his home in 2015 and he deleted the footage.
Jung Joon Young was arrested on March 21 and is currently being held at a detention center. He has been charged with 11 instances of sharing illegally taken footage.
UPDATE: A report by Yonhap News from the evening of March 28 states that the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has confirmed the existence of 23 chatrooms so far where illegally filmed videos were shared by Jung Joon Young, Seungri, Choi Jong Hoon, and more.
According to the police, there were 16 participants in chatrooms (including group chatrooms and one-on-one chatrooms) where videos and photos were shared. Out of these participants, there are seven including Jung Joon Young, Seungri, and Choi Jong Hoon who uploaded photos or videos.
In regards to why some of the participants of the chatrooms haven’t been booked, the police explained, “They are not booked for just simply looking at [the photos or videos].”
MBC reports several group chatroom members changed phones after news broke
On March 28, MBC’s “Newsdesk” reported on discussions of destroying evidence that took place in the group chatrooms where illegally filmed videos were shared.
MBC received investigation reports from the police that state that Seungri, Jung Joon Young, Choi Jong Hoon, and other members of the controversial group chatrooms had all changed their phones.
It was revealed that when it was first reported on March 11 that there had been illegally filmed videos shared in their group chatrooms, they discussed switching their phones.
The police found that Seungri said to Choi Jong Hoon, “Change your phone.”
Jung Joon Young also testified to police that he had gotten rid of his phone at his show’s filming location in Los Angeles and bought a new one, as instructed to by Mr. Park, a member of the chatroom.
When he returned to Korea from the United States, he claimed that he submitted all of his phones with videos to the police, even though he’d gotten rid of his phone that is suspected of containing more recent illegally filmed videos.
Six other members of the chatrooms including Seungri and others submitted new phones to the police after changing their phones.
Because of this organized destruction of evidence, the police have not been able to check their recent phones. This is why the investigation has mostly been focused on illegal activities that took place in 2015 and 2016.
Seungri, Jung Joon Young, and Choi Jong Hoon were all booked earlier today for additional charges of sharing illegally filmed videos and photos.
SBS reports on group chatroom conversation when Seungri shared illegally taken photo
SBS has shared a conversation between Seungri and fellow members of a group chatroom.
On March 28, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” reported on Seungri recently being booked for spreading an illegally taken photo. According to police, while Seungri admitted to sharing illicit footage, he has denied taking it and said it was a photo from an acquaintance.
SBS reports that on June 12, 2016, Seungri shared a photo of naked women in a group chatroom.
Mr. Kim replied, “Now?” and Choi Jong Hoon asked, “Seungri, what is it?” In reply, Seungri sent several symbols for laughter.
Police are conducting an investigation into who took the photo.
Earlier that day, MBC reported that there are eight singers in the controversial group chatrooms, with 14 people in all. The police also stated that they have confirmed the existence of 23 chatrooms so far, including group chatrooms and one-on-one conversations, where illegally filmed videos and photos were shared by Jung Joon Young, Seungri, Choi Jong Hoon, and more.
Jung Joon Young's case to be forwarded to prosecutors today
Jung Joon Young, who is currently being held at a detention center at the Jongno police station, will have his case forwarded to prosecutors today (March 29) with a recommendation for indictment on numerous counts of filming and sharing illegally taken footage of women.
Seungri and Choi Jong Hoon have also admitted to sharing illegal footage, although Seungri stated that he was not involved in any filming. Police are currently carrying out an investigation to determine the source of the footage.
The sharing of this illegal footage was done through various chatrooms. OSEN reported that there were over seven group chats, and a source from the police said, “There are various chatrooms, and we believe that the footage was shared in more chatrooms than those that we know of.”
In addition to distributing footage taken without consent, the participants of the chatrooms allegedly solicited prostitution, discussed bribing law enforcement officials, and more. The latest report by MBC’s “Newsroom” revealed that, according to police reports, the members of the chatroom discussed changing phones when news first broke about the illegal camera footage and submitted new devices to the police.
Sources: Naver (1, 2), iMBC (1, 2, 3), SBS News, OSEN via Soompi (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)