K-Pop Megastars Arrested for Involvement in Prostitution Ring

South Korea is still whirling from the accusation made towards national icon, Seungri, the youngest member of the wildly successful K-Pop band BigBang. The member has made international headlines after investigations into a Seoul club led to the discovery of his active participation in a prostitution ring, finding women for businessmen.

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Seungri, real name Lee Seung-Hyun belongs to the music company YG Entertainment, a company well known for being home to other successful Korean musicians like PSY and BLACKPINK. Belonging to the popular boy band, BigBang, Seungri, and his other members were the most popular K-Pop band up until the rise of BTS. Often described as the “Great Gatsby of Korea,” he has lived a lavish lifestyle, including owning a nightclub and restaurant franchise.

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The charges Seungri faces surround the suspicion of his supplying prostitutes to potential business partners. BBC News commented: “It is alleged that Seungri tried to obtain prostitutes for clients through a group chat on the messaging app KakaoTalk in 2015. Messages have emerged which appear to show him urging a staff member to make the arrangements… .He was also allegedly part of a chat where secretly-filmed sex videos were shared. The hidden camera clips were allegedly taped by another K-pop singer, Jung Joon-young.”

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While Seungri has opted to cooperate, things continue to look worse for the young star as more allegations and testimonies come forth over his suspicious activities. Under the intense scrutiny of police forces and the public, he has resigned from both BigBang and YG Entertainment until further notice.

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Prostitution is illegal in South Korea, any distribution of the services equating to up to three years in prison. Fans abroad and locally are rioting against the accusations, while others have taken to rioting against the man in question. As further text messages are leaked of the interactions between other actors in the K-Pop industry, the growing outrage continues. Time News reports that the texts show “Seungri, the Korean singer, and actor Jung Joon Young and a number of other men…discussing arrangements for providing escort services to attendees at a nightclub.” These interactions included the distribution of images and videos of members in the group chat potentially raping unconscious women. With the additions of more players in the illegal and horrific acts, the scandal is only growing.

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With the K-Pop industry being a large portion of South Korea’s current economy, such accusations, stories, and deceit threaten market shares. As the story unfolds, everyone involved is taking cautious consideration of the actions of these young men and how they impact the larger image of the K-Pop industry as a whole as well as the image of South Korea.