Since the beginning of 2019, K-Pop idol Seungri, former member of influential South Korean boy band Big Bang, has been caught in a whirlwind of explosive and serious allegations involving prostitution, drugs and illicit sex videos. This has caused an uproar in the Korean entertainment industry which is well-known for having K-Pop idols uphold wholesome and clean images.
Let’s take a comprehensive look at how the events unfolded around one of the biggest scandals to hit the K-Pop world in recent years, with twists and turns worthy of a Korean drama.
Warning: Some images/videos may cause discomfort to viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
How It All Started: Burning Sun Club Allegations
November 2018 to January 28, 2019
MBC’s newscast News Desk reported that a man named Mr Kim claimed that he was assaulted by a staff at Burning Sun, a nightclub reportedly co-owned by Seungri, in November 2018 as he was helping a woman who was being sexually harassed.
CCTV footage revealed Mr Kim being dragged out of the club by security guards where they and a director of Burning Sun, Mr Jang, proceeded to beat him up.
Mr Kim called the police to report the incident, but Mr Kim was arrested by the police instead as an assailant. After being arrested, it is also reported that Mr Kim alleged that the police officers had physically assaulted him as well. Mr Kim also alleged that police officers recorded his assault while ridiculing him, and that they did not allow him to seek medical attention for his injuries as he was arrested as the assailant.
The police report obtained by News Desk stated Mr Kim as the assailant and Mr Jang as the victim. It is also revealed that Seungri was present at the venue that evening.
A statement was issued by the CEOs of Burning Sun, Lee Sung Hyun and Lee Moon Ho to apologise for Mr Kim’s assault. They claimed to have fired the staff involved and promised to give their full cooperation to the investigation. Burning Sun also responded to a CCTV video of a separate incident that had been uploaded onto Youtube. It showed a woman being dragged down the hallway at the club.
She had allegedly reported the incident to the police, but no action had been taken and it was claimed that Burning Sun had deleted the footage. The club denied the accusations and provided more footage to support their claim that the woman in question was removed from a VIP table for being a nuisance and that she had assaulted their staff instead.
Mr Jang also spoke to news outlet E-Daily to apologize for the assault on Mr Kim and shared footage that showed Mr Kim approaching multiple female guests and there were complaints about his behaviour. He also stated that Seungri was not at the club on the day of the incident and in fact was someone the staff did not see often.
On the same day, Mr Kim took to Instagram to ask for any information that anyone might have regarding the date-rape drug, GHB. GHB’s known effects include a loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, amnesia and coma.
He then shared a screenshot of a conversation he had with a female victim, who alleges that she was assaulted by a Burning Sun employee. She then explains that she could not make a police report because the club had already deleted CCTV footage of the incident.