The investigations on Seungri and Yoo In Suk are coming to a close.
Won Kyung Hwan, Commissioner of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, shared through a press conference on April 29, “The Burning Sun investigations have been going on for three months, and the investigations are coming to a close one by one.”
He continued by revealing that the police plan on concluding the investigations on Seungri and Yoo In Suk within this week.
On whether pretrial detention warrants will be issued for the two, Won Kyung Hwan stated, “Pretrial detention warrants are issued depending on overall judgments based on factors including severity of the issues, potential for fleeing, and destruction of evidence.” If the police submit a request, the court will decide whether or not the warrant will be issued.
Regarding Seungri using YG Entertainment’s company card in 2015 to pay for the hotel of a Japanese investor for whom prostitutes were called for, an accountant of YG Entertainment testified that Seungri used the card but was charged for the expenses. The police are reviewing the financial documents submitted by YG Entertainment to confirm this testimony.
About suspicions of Seungri mediating prostitution at his birthday party in Palawan in 2017, the police commented, “Various [factors] have to be reviewed for the Palawan case. The facts have all been sorted out.”
Seungri has been questioned by the police 15 times so far on suspicions including prostitution mediation, embezzlement, sharing of illegal footage, and tax evasion.
Seungri undergoes police questioning for suspicions of embezzlement
On May 2, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Intellectual Crime Investigation Team revealed that they have been questioning Seungri since 10 a.m. KST regarding suspicions of embezzlement.
A source from the police stated, “Since this is the first time questioning [Seungri] on suspicions of embezzlement, we expect the investigation to continue until the evening.”
Seungri and former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk were first booked for embezzling funds from the club Monkey Museum on April 1. The police are investigating the two based on the finding of suspicious cash flow, where a portion of Burning Sun capital has been traced back to Monkey Museum.
Furthermore, the police found an instance where a portion of Burning Sun’s capital was traced back to bank accounts under different names, which was later rerouted to personal bank accounts of Seungri. The police suspect that the amount Seungri had supposedly embezzled totals up to 2 billion won (approximately $1,717,730).
In addition, Seungri and Yoo In Suk are also accused of using Yuri Holdings funds to pay for legal fees of a former DJ at Monkey Museum who was being investigated for suspicions of sexual assault.
Seungri has been questioned by the police 16 times so far on suspicions including prostitution mediation, embezzlement, sharing of illegal footage, and tax evasion.
Police probing singer Seungri over alleged embezzlement, pimping
SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) -- Police said Thursday they are investigating former BIGBANG member Seungri on allegations that he embezzled funds from a night club embroiled in drug and sex scandals.
He is suspected of having misappropriated money at Burning Sun, a club in southern Seoul where he worked as a public relations director.
The club closed down in February after it came under investigation over drug use, sexual violence and corrupt ties with district police.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) said it has summoned Seungri for questioning over allegations that he embezzled 200 million won (US$172,000) by having Burning Sun pay the money to another club, co-founded by him and a businessman, to use its brand.
In a related probe, police are looking into Yoo In-suk, a former head of Yuri Holdings, a company co-founded by Seungri and other Burning Sun investors. They are suspected of having embezzled around 2 billion won in total.
Seungri, 29, has also been under probe over allegations that he arranged sex services for potential foreign investors at Seoul night clubs and was involved in running the crime-riddled Burning Sun club.
He is one of a number of entertainers who allegedly shared sex videos of about 10 women secretly filmed by singer Jung Joon-young in a mobile chat room.
Jung is now in jail over allegations that he recorded sex videos of the women he slept with and uploaded them to the KakaoTalk messenger chat room.
In a related investigation, meanwhile, officials at the SMPA said they have confirmed some Japanese businessmen related to Seungri received sexual services during their visit to Seoul in 2015.
"Some in a group of Japanese businessmen who accompanied their chairman were found to have bought sexual services during their visit to South Korea in 2015, though there was no evidence of illegalities by the chairman who came here together with his wife," a police official said.
The official added the police will determine how to investigate the Japanese people implicated in the suspected prostitution.
Police opened their probe into suspected prostitution involving Seungri, after a group SNS conversation between the singer and Yoo in November 2015 indicated they were preparing a "special party" and girls for visiting Japanese guests.
Police suspect Seungri's arrangement of sexual services after confirming he paid the Japanese visitors' accommodation fee at a Seoul hotel with a corporate credit card of his former management company YG Entertainment.
Police questioned YG accounting officials, but they insisted that Seungri paid back the accommodation fee later in accordance with the company's accounting practices.
Police said they will later determine whether to seek an arrest warrant for Seungri and Yoo on pimping charges after conducting a further investigation into their suspected provision of sexual services.
Police confirm men received prostitution services at Seungri's Christmas party in 2015
Police have confirmed that prostitution services were received at the Christmas party held by Seungri in 2015.
On May 2, an official of Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency revealed, “We confirmed the purchase of prostitution services from some of the people who accompanied Japanese CEO A during his visit to Korea in 2015.”
However, the official explained, “In the case of CEO A, who has been reported in the news, we confirmed that he entered the country with his wife, but we did not find any points of suspicions to tie him to the crimes being charged.”
The police are looking at how to investigate the accompanying party of the Japanese businessman whose charges for receiving prostitution services are confirmed.
The alleged prostitution ring has been investigated by the police based on messages exchanged between Seungri, Yoo In Suk, and others. The conversations included content that implied Seungri was directing prostitution services for the Japanese investor.
The police confirmed the transaction made with a YG Entertainment company card for the hotel where the accompanying parties of the Japanese investor stayed at, and the police is suspecting Seungri mediated prostitution services.
On April 30, Seungri was summoned again for questioning, and after further investigation, the police will decide whether or not to request arrest warrants for Seungri and Yoo In Suk.
A police official stated, “We are going through the last stages of the investigation.” The official added, “We will decide promptly whether or not to request warrants.”
Police investigate reporters' chatroom sharing illicit sexual videos related to Burning Sun
On May 3, it was reported that Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s cyber crime team has launched an internal investigation into a KakaoTalk open chatroom in which illegal hidden camera footage tied to the Burning Sun case was allegedly shared among producing directors and reporters.
The chatroom, which is described as having about 200 members, reportedly circulated not just hidden camera videos but also pornographic material and the personal information of sexual assault victims, as well as reviews of prostitution services. There are also said to be three further chatrooms that were made afterwards in which the material has been shared.
Currently, a post on the Blue House’s citizen petition board demanding an investigation into this chatroom has about 30,000 supporters.
A police source stated, “We are looking into the basic facts, as there are still no specifics on the case. We will be verifying the conversations and materials that took place in these chatrooms after considering our method of investigation.”
Go Jun Hee files legal complaints against malicious commenters who spread rumours linking her to Seungri's controversy
Go Jun Hee has officially taken legal action against malicious comments linking her to Seungri‘s recent controversy.
On May 4, Oh Kims, the law firm serving as Go Jun Hee’s legal representative, announced that the actress had filed a complaint against 12 malicious commenters for defamation of character and for violating the Information and Communications Network Act.
A representative of Oh Kims stated, “This weekend, we completed submitting the first round of complaints against some netizens. Through continuous monitoring, we will continue to take civil and criminal legal action without leniency in the future as well.”
The representative continued, “Due to the groundless rumors circulated maliciously by such individuals, many of the contracts that Go Jun Hee has been working on have been overturned, so there has been a great deal of damage. A person’s everyday life should not be brutally trampled by the thoughtless, malicious act of indiscriminately spreading false information by malicious commenters hiding behind online anonymity.”
Go Jun Hee was previously swept up in rumors that she was the actress named in Seungri’s group chat when the chatroom participants were discussing girls to invite to entertain a foreign investor visiting Korea. The rumors grew when she decided to step down from KBS 2TV’s upcoming drama “Perfume.” However, Go Jun Hee’s agency firmly denied the rumors at the time and said, “None of the rumors are true.”
'Unanswered Questions' investigates connection between Hwang Ha Na and Burning Sun
SBS’s “Unanswered Questions” explored the possibility of a link between Hwang Ha Na’s drug case and the ongoing Burning Sun scandal.
On May 4, the investigative TV show aired an episode entitled “The Secret Private Lives of Hwang Ha Na and the VIPs of Burning Sun.” During the episode, the program delved into the drug scandal of the granddaughter of Namyang Dairy Products’ founder and her potential connection to the Burning Sun controversy.
The show met with an anonymous source, “A,” who said that she had spotted Hwang Ha Na in Macau with her then-boyfriend Park Yoochun. “A” said, “Around the end of 2017, I got to know Hwang Ha Na, and we said hello to each other. Park Yoochun wasn’t there at first, but he was there when we went downstairs. It didn’t seem like [Hwang Ha Na and Park Yoochun] were there for gambling or tourism. It seemed like they had something going on.”
“A” continued, “There was a time when Hwang Ha Na got drugs for a person who was acting like a puppet.” She also spoke about Hwang Ha Na’s connection with a wanted criminal named only by his surname Lee, attesting to the existence of the so-called “Hwang Ha Na List.”
“A” stated, “Hwang Ha Na gave Lee a list of celebrities who used drugs. She said, ‘Make a deal using this. Make a deal with the prosecution.’ At the time, Lee was a wanted criminal for child prostitution and the mediation of prostitution abroad.” When asked if Lee had revealed which celebrities were on the list, “A” said, “He didn’t tell me that. I was most curious about that part, but he wouldn’t tell me.”
Lee was arrested in January of this year, confirming the claims that “A” made about him.
In 2015, Hwang Ha Na’s name appeared eight times in the written judgment for the drug case of college student “J.” Although Hwang Ha Na was found to be using, supplying, and administering drugs, in addition to instigating the use of drugs, she was not investigated. A source from the Jongno Police Station, which was in charge of the case at the time, commented, “The Jogyesa Temple incident happened at that time, and the entire intelligence investigation team all moved [to that case]. I don’t remember what happened after that.”
The supplier named in the written judgment of “J” was a famous DJ with the last name Oh who worked in the Gangnam District. Oh is known to be friends with Seungri, as well as a close friend of Hwang Ha Na. One Gangnam District club investor said, “Hwang Ha Na went to Burning Sun a lot. She’s also close with Lee Moon Ho [the CEO of Burning Sun].”
Earlier this year, Lee Moon Ho tested positive for drugs according to the National Forensic Service, but he continued to deny that he had ever used drugs. He commented, “It was a situation where I didn’t need to take a drug test, but I did so voluntarily and gave my urine and hair to the police. Since the results came back positive, there must have been [drugs] inside my body, but I don’t know how they got in there.” He then suggested that he had been unwittingly ingesting drugs through drinks given to him by the club’s customers.
However, an anonymous source refuted this claim by saying, “I saw Lee Moon Ho doing drugs. He rolled a pipe that looked like a cigarette, then kept drooling and laughing. When I asked if it was marijuana, he said, ‘It’s something that can’t be compared to marijuana.'”
Burning Sun and many of the individuals involved with the club are currently being investigated by the police after facing numerous allegations of criminal activity, including prostitution mediation, drug distribution, collusion with the police, embezzlement, and more.
Jung Eun Chae's agency responds to rumours tying actress to new Burning Sun reports
Fans of actress Jung Eun Chae are urging her to take action against rumors connecting her to Burning Sun.
On the recent broadcast of SBS’s “Unanswered Questions,” it was alleged that a certain cosmetics company sponsored Burning Sun, and during a gathering between the two parties, an actress hit people’s faces with a light stick. The actress was allegedly drooling and had bloodshot eyes, suggesting that she may have taken drugs.
After the episode aired, one particular brand was singled out on social media, and Jung Eun Chae, who is the model for the brand in question, was suspected as being the actress mentioned.
In response to these rumors, fans posted a statement on fan community DC Jung Eun Chae Gallery on May 5. Below is the full translation of the statement:
We are the fandom who have been consistently cheering for and supporting actress Jung Eun Chae since her debut until now.
Currently, several unfounded rumors were spread online that has left us with a terrible feeling. As such, we present this statement calling for strong action.
Since she was young, Jung Eun Chae has displayed exceptional passion for the arts that even led her to study abroad. She is a capable actress that was naturally inspired to pursue the field by the movies and performances she saw in London.
Jung Eun Chae has become known to the public through various works and is an actress that is destined to gain more attention and shine bright like a diamond. We hope that she will not become discouraged because of this matter.
UPDATE: Jung Eun Chae’s agency has released an official statement about the rumors linking her to the new Burning Sun reports.
Below is the full translation of the agency’s statement:
We relay to you our official statement regarding the malicious rumors surrounding actress Jung Eun Chae.
Jung Eun Chae is not related to the recent reports surrounding Burning Sun and cosmetics company “V,” and the malicious rumors that are being spread through several online communities and comments are not true. Jung Eun Chae’s contract with company “V” ended last April, and she has been working as a model for another cosmetics brand since last May. She had no connection [to the company] at the time of the Burning Sun incident, and she has never been to [Burning Sun].
We would like to apologize to fans for causing concern. We are planning to take strong legal action by gathering all posts and comments on the internet that are spreading and reproducing false facts and hurting the actress’s reputation and the actress as a person. We will do our best to avoid further damage in order to protect the actress.
Lee Byung Hun and Han Hyo Joo's agency releases statement denying connection to gathering at Burning Sun
BH Entertainment, which houses Lee Byung Hun, Han Hyo Joo, and Kim Go Eun, denied that the actors attended a gathering at Burning Sun.
On May 5, a high-ranking source from BH Entertainment stated, “It is false that Lee Byung Hun, Han Hyo Joo, and other actors at the agency went to a dinner gathering for a cosmetics brand at Burning Sun. Although they are models for the brand, they have no connection to the event described by ‘Unanswered Questions.'”
Below is a full translation of the official statement from the agency:
This is BH Entertainment.
We would like to relay that Han Hyo Joo, who works as a model for JMsolution, did not attend the event mentioned in the May 4 broadcast of SBS’s “Unanswered Questions.”
Han Hyo Joo is simply a model for JMsolution. She did not participate in the event and has not once stepped foot in Burning Sun. In addition, we maintain that none of her fellow actors in the agency attended the event.
We will pursue strong legal action against all posts and comments on social media that damage our actors’ reputations by spreading these falsehoods.
This comes after the May 4 episode of SBS’s “Unanswered Questions,” in which one source alleged that a cosmetics brand sponsoring Burning Sun held a dinner gathering at the club and reserved around 20 VIP tables.
The source claimed that during the event, “An actress in her 30s, ‘A,’ hit people who were greeting her with a light stick. Those who were assaulted were in their 40s and 50s.” The actress’s eyes were said to be bloodshot, suggesting drug use.
Cosmetics company JMSolution denies reports tying brand and celebrity models to Burning Sun reports
JMsolution has released an official statement regarding the allegations made during a recent episode of SBS’s “Unanswered Questions.”
In the broadcast, it was alleged that a cosmetics company had sponsored Burning Sun and during a gathering between the two parties, an actress had used a light stick and hit people’s faces with it. Allegations were made that the actresses had exhibited symptoms like drooling and bloodshot eyes, suggesting that she had ingested drugs.
After the episode, JMsolution was singled out on social media, and soon actresses Jung Eun Chae and Han Hyo Joo were placed under scrutiny as they are models for the brand. Jung Eun Chae’s agency and Han Hyo Joo’s agency have both denied any relation to Burning Sun and the incident, and they have announced they will be taking legal action against malicious comments and false rumors.
JMsolution has now released a statement, which reads as follows:
We would like to address the recent controversy involving Burning Sun.
On November 23, 2018, JMsolution held an event with our employees at Burning Sun. Celebrities who are models for our brand did not attend that event, and we were not aware of the issue that occurred at the time. We find it very unfortunate to have cause worry and concern to everyone by having our company and our brand models’ names associated with the controversy simply because we were in the same location.
From last October, JMsolution began marketing in Korea, and most cosmetics brands use various advertising channels to launch brands and hold events. The event that was held at the location [Burning Sun] was simply an event for the brand, and had nothing to do with the ongoing controversies.
Despite never being contacted by or speaking with any media outlet regarding this, reports have been linking our brand and our brand models to the controversy, and we find it unfortunate that we are suffering from damages due to this reporting.
JMsolution plans to take a strong stance against those who spread false information and contribute to defaming our brand.
Bareunmirae Party clashes with ruling party, civic group over independent investigative agency
Note: This article was posted on 7 April 2019 but I failed to include this in the earlier news round-ups.
The minor opposition Bareunmirae Party has presented an unexpected stumbling block for the establishment of an independent agency to uncover wrongdoing by high-level government officials and their relatives.
The party supports the core idea behind the government’s plan to form an independent agency, but has sparked contentious debate by proposing that the new agency have a narrower range of authority -- without the power to indict criminal suspects.
Last month the Bareunmirae Party put forth its vision for an independent investigative agency that would conduct probes and file motions, arguing the ruling Democratic Party’s plan as written would create an agency with “superpowers.”
“The independent investigative agency must not be a power above the prosecution. It must not further strengthen the president’s authority, setting aside the reform of the prosecution. Absolute power is bound to become corrupt,” said Bareunmirae Party Floor Leader Kim Kwan-young.
“If our party’s proposal is not accepted, we have decided not to continue the fast-track process,” Kim added.
In the days since the Burning Sun scandal raised suspicion that police had corrupt ties with K-pop star and businessman Seungri, public consensus has favored the creation of an independent investigative agency. This was compounded by additional testimony from witnesses in the Kim Hak-eui scandal, suggesting that prosecutors may have acted inappropriately in dropping charges against the former vice minister of justice.
Kim is alleged to have accepted bribes from a businessman, Yoon Joong-cheon, in the form of sex with women who may have been coerced into taking part. The alleged offenses are believed to have taken place at Yoon’s country house.
Of 502 adults who responded to a survey by local pollster Real Meter, released late last month, 65.2 percent said they supported the creation of an independent investigative agency, whereas 23.8 percent expressed opposition.
Of the 322 adults who said they were in favor of an independent investigative agency, 59.4 percent said they would oppose the creation of such an agency if it lacked the authority to indict criminal suspects.
In the Kim Hak-eui investigation, prosecutors dismissed a police request for an international travel ban for Kim on March 27, 2013. On June 18 of that year they denied a warrant for Kim’s arrest, and a few weeks later on July 2 they denied a warrant for Yoon’s arrest as well.
“The agency can conduct compulsory investigation, which would draw attention from the media. If the prosecution does not indict a case with the intention of covering up for a fellow prosecutor, it would have to write out reasons for dropping the case in a document and send it back to the agency,” said Rep. Oh Shin-hwan of the Bareunmirae Party.
“If the head of the agency concludes (the prosecution) is unjust, the agency chief can give a media briefing and file a motion with the high court,” he added.
Oh Shin-hwan is the assistant administrator of the National Assembly’s special committee on judicial reform. In 2017 he proposed a bill to establish an independent investigative agency without the authority to indict suspects.
Signaling a complex road ahead, local civic group People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy demolished the party’s proposal, saying it would undermine the goal of reforming the prosecution and that the end result would be no more than a bigger-than-average special crime squad.
“An independent investigative agency that cannot prosecute will blur the main purpose of reforming the prosecution, because it would continue to have exclusive rights to indict,” said Kim Jun-woo, an attorney and vice secretary general at Lawyers for a Democratic Society.
“Bills proposed guarantee the political neutrality of the agency chief, whose nomination would largely be impacted by the National Assembly. Ultimately, indictment rights are crucial for the agency and without them the agency would merely be a police division with a little bit more authority than the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s current special crime squad,” he added.
Kim also stressed that it was unusual for high courts to approve motions to prosecute suspects after prosecutors have dropped charges, with their success rate standing at less than 1 percent.
High courts nationwide approved motions in only 744 such cases between 2013 and 2017, according to Supreme Court data provided to Rep. Park Ju-min of the Democratic Party. Of the 100,972 motions filed, those that received court approval comprised 0.77 percent.
Supporters of the government’s vision for the agency point to examples in other countries. In the UK, for instance, the Serious Fraud Office is a nonministerial government department established in 1987 with 500 staff members tasked with investigating crimes such as corruption, bribery and massive fraud. It has the authority both to investigate and prosecute.
With the deadlock holding back the fast-tracking of the proposal, President Moon Jae-in, who had vowed to set up the independent investigative agency during his election campaign, reiterated the need for the new body last month.
“Citizens are outraged by the unlawful behavior of the privileged class, poor investigations caused by pressure from outside forces, and allegations of protection and the cover-up of cases involving those with power. The urgency of the independent investigative agency has once again been confirmed,” Moon said.
Actresses suffer post-Burning Sun fallout
The Burning Sun scandal, which cut K-pop singer Seungri's career short, has been rekindled after an investigative TV report on Saturday raised a fresh allegation about an actress in her 30s.
According to the report, the unnamed actress took drugs at a drug-involved party at the nightclub on the day a man identified by his last name Kim was assaulted.
Several actresses took action amid the allegations. Actress Go Joon-hee filed a libel suit against 12 rumormongers who spread rumors about her regarding the Burning Sun scandal and Han Hyo-joo denied attending the party the SBS program brought to light.
Two others, Jung Eun-chae and Kim Ko-eun, also denied they were part of the drug-related party the SBS program raised.
Actress Go Joon-hee took a stern measure on Saturday. She filed a libel suit against internet users who raised and spread rumors about Go possibly being one of the unnamed actresses mentioned in former BIG BANG member Seungri's infamous group chat.
The action came weeks after she threatened to sue rumormongers for defamation. She denied rumors that she was the one mentioned in the group chat as "an actress in New York, therefore unavailable to provide sexual services for Seungri's overseas investors."
"There will be no change in Go's no-mercy policy toward rumormongers and she will take every possible legal measure, including civil and criminal suits, against anyone who spreads groundless stories about her," Go's attorney, from OhKims Law & Company, said in a statement.
The law firm said Go suffered enormous economic losses because the baseless rumors tarnished her image as an actress.
"Go had to cancel numerous contracts due to malicious and groundless rumors, and consequently suffered immense losses in her income as well as her career," the statement read. It emphasized one's life should not be distorted due to anonymous internet users' rumors without evidence.
The actress went ahead with the legal action as rumors about her showed no signs of abating, despite her denials.
The rumors were raised because she and Seungri were both managed by YG in 2015 when Seungri shared the group chat with other members. Go was reportedly in New York at that time, too.
After the group chat was revealed, some internet users raised suspicions that Go might be the unnamed actress the group chat members referred to as "nuna," or sister.
Some internet users posted messages on Go's Instagram account, asking if she is the one mentioned in Seungri's group chat. She responded to each and every post saying she is not.
Go's legal action coincides with SBS' investigative program "Unanswered Questions" which covers the Burning Sun scandal and sheds light on the systematic drug trade at the club.
Based on testimonies from unnamed sources, the program disclosed the clandestine inner circle members who were treated as VIPs at the club.
It also mentioned an after-dinner party involving an unnamed actress in her 30s and cosmetics company executives at club Burning Sun's VIP room.
According to an interview with a Burning Sun staff member, "There was a cosmetics brand company sponsoring Burning Sun, which reserved all 20 tables in the club's VIP area."
"The actress hit some people in their 40s and 50s with the light stick that the club gives to the customers," he said. "The actress was quite young, but she hit the people in their faces because she was excited to see them. Her eyes looked abnormal and bloodshot," the interviewee added.
The cosmetics brand is known only by the initial J. Following the SBS report, actress Han Hyo-joo released a statement on Sunday and denied her involvement in the party.
In the statement, her agency BH Entertainment said it is true that Han worked as a model for the company but that she has never been to Burning Sun nightclub. BH warned of legal action against those who spread baseless rumors about her.
Many worried the allegations related to the Burning Sun scandal could lead to the victimization of other innocent actresses.
The "Unanswered Questions" documentary also suggested a list of celebrities who took drugs with Hwang Ha-na and Park Yu-chun, both of whom were arrested for drug abuse.
The show reported on one of the main distributors, who was hired to provide drugs for VIPs, and allegations against multiple celebrities who took drugs in the club.
North Korean fans of '2 Days 1 Night' concerned about the future of the show
North Koreans are expressing disappointment as no new episodes of KBS’s reality variety show “2 Days, 1 Night” have been broadcast in over a month.
“A lot of people are wondering why the show is suddenly off-the-air,” a source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK.
“People don’t know about the sex crimes involving Jung Joon Young along with the golf-related betting scandal, so they’re clueless as to why the show is not airing anymore.”
North Koreans in Pyongsong, Nampo, Pyongyang and other areas of the country appear to be watching KBS broadcasts in real-time. South Korean television moved to digital broadcasts in the early 2000s, but TV stations have continued to broadcast analogue signal into North Korea. This has allowed North Koreans who live relatively closer to South Korea to receive TV broadcasts, even in places as far from the 38th Parallel as Pyongyang.
“2 Days, 1 Night” is one of the most popular South Korean TV programs in North Korea. Episodes of the show have been distributed throughout the country by USB sticks and other storage devices. The show began to spread through North Korea’s border region and interior in the early 2010s through DVDs created by North Korean business people capitalizing on the spike in demand for the show.
“People are interested in the show because they’re curious about South Korea and it shows famous places in the country,” the source said. “They are fascinated by the fact that people in the South can move around freely, given that they can’t do that here.”
The show is also popular because it depicts Korean culture and is easy for viewers to understand.
“The show gives viewers a taste of different parts of South Korea, rather than just showing the completely developed parts like dramas do,” a source in Pyongyang explained. “Viewers appreciate the show’s Korean-ness and being able to note the commonalities between the South and North.”
Another show, MBN’s “I’m a Naturalist,” is also popular in North Korea for its portrayal of real agricultural and mountain life in South Korea.
“Rock, paper, scissors, and the ‘elephant spin’ game are played by North Koreans, too, so they feel a sense of familiarity with characters in the show. North Korean viewers are envious of all the fun places to visit in South Korea that are shown in the program. Many people want to go to South Korea because of the show” a separate source in South Pyongan Province said.
“The program has been around for a long time and it shows a lot of games similar to those played by people here, so it’s sad that the show is off-the-air right now. I hope another show comes along just like it.”
Source: Naver (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14) via Soompi 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), The Korea Herald, Yonhap News, The Korea Times, Daily North Korea