What Actually Happened?
In March 2019, the Korean music industry got shocked after Lee Seung-hyun, who has the stage name Seungri, a member of the boy band BIGBANG, got caught in a prostitution scandal in a leaked Kakao Talk (katalk) messages. In his katalk account, Seungri is part of a group chat with other people. Based on the report by MBN News, the members of the group chat are singer Jung Joon-young, Lee Jong-hyun (CNBlue guitarist), Choi Jong-hoon (former guitarist of F.T. Island), Yoo In-suk (former CEO of Yuri Holdings), singer Mr. Kim, former employee of YG Entertainment, and a friend of Jung Joon-young. The group is known for being good friends with each other and often showing their friendship.
In the chat, Jung Joon-young had repeatedly sent footage recorded on a hidden camera of him with some girls. Before this scandal leaked, in 2016, Jung Joon-young was caught up in a similar scandal with his ex-girlfriend. He quickly apologized and reflected on his actions. He was also able to come back on the show 2 Days 1 Night after the public’s sentiment went down.
Turns out, Jung Joon-young had made more videos using his hidden camera, and this had been going on since 2015. Additionally, he shared the videos with his friends. Ten women came out claiming to be the victims of non-consensual hidden camera. At the time the scandal broke out, Jung Joon-young was filming the tvN reality show Wheeled Restaurant at Los Angeles.
On March 12th, Jung Joon-young came back to Korea and got trampled by reporters at the airport. Police booked him with charges of illegally filming with a hidden camera. As a result, he received a ban for leaving the country and was removed from several shows, including 2 Days and 1 Night, 4 Wheeled Restaurants, and Salty Tours.
Yong Jun-hyung Left Highlight
The same day, Seungri announced his retirement from the entertainment industry on his Instagram. However, not only Seungri, but Jun-hyung and Jung Joon-young also terminated their contracts with the agency. MAKEUS Entertainment, Jung Joon-young’s agency terminated his contract. Yong Jun-hyung from Highlight also got spotlighted after being accused of taking part in the group chat. The evidence gathered from the katalk shows Yong Jun-hyung’s response to Jung Joon-young’s hidden camera footage by asking for a video. Around Us Entertainment released a statement and stated that the news is false. However, on March 14th, Yong Jun-hyung left Highlight even though he wasn’t part of the group chat. He was aware of his involvement in Jung Joon-young’s hidden camera scam and didn’t take any further action to prevent his mistakes.
On March 12th, SBS 8 O’Clock News released the content of Jung Joon-young’s group chat. In the chat, singer “Kim” posted a video of a passed out girl. Jung Joon-young’s answer to them was, “It’s rape.” On another occasion, Jung Joon-young also wrote, “Let’s all meet online and go to a strip bar and rape [someone] in the car,” which referred to an online game. But, his acquaintance Park answers, “We do that in real life too.” Choi Jong-hoon agreed to Park’s answer and added, “This is a movie. Think about it for five minutes. We just didn’t do murders, a lot of bastards also have gone to jail for that.”
The response shows that the members of the group chat are aware of Jung Joon-young’s hidden camera habit. SBS 8 O’Clock also shared information about corruption that happened on Jung Joon-young’s sexual assault charges in 2016. The officer who was in charge of his case didn’t confiscate his phone as evidence. The lieutenant and the judge in charge were allegedly working together to move his case directly to court without having to show valid evidence for the forensics team. In the report, Jung Joon-young’s phone was considered as disappeared and the data could not be restored. Regarding the report on this, there still are not any further statements from both sides. The police said that the lieutenant in charge didn’t accept a bribe or anything else. The lieutenant just wanted to quickly wrap up the case. However, this news enlighted people about how easy it is for people to play with the country’s law.
The Investigation and Arrest
On March 14th, Jung Joon-young was brought to the police station for questioning which lasted for 14 hours. Dispatch, on the other hand, released another report of him being part of an international prostitution ring. KBS News 9 also released a report that stated Jung Joon-young accepted prostitution service from Yoo In-kwon. On March 21st, Jung Joon-young came in for questioning and was arrested at 9:30 AM. He was charged with illegally sharing explicit videos without the victim’s consent. He gave a statement at the building entrance and extended his apology in front of the reporters. Here’s his statement:
“I’m sorry. I committed an unforgivable crime. I accept all charges and will follow the court’s judgment. I also apologize to the victims who suffered from me and those who have suffered due to illegal activities. I will faithfully respond to the investigation and always live with reflection.”
Because of his crime, Jung Joon-young faces a sentence up to seven years and six months. After giving the statement, he bowed to the reporters and shed some tears. Netizens responded to his tears as “Crocodile Tears” and showed their disinterest with his act.
Seoul Shinmun was able to obtain Jung Joon-young’s indictment. Based on the document, he is charged with illegally filming sexual activities 9 times and illegally shared them with the group 14 times. The report seemed to be contradicting to what the police had said.
The Investigation and Arrest of Other Members
Not only Jung Joon-young, but Choi Jung-hoon also got charged for allegedly bribing a police officer after a DUI in the past and allegedly being involved in a gang rape. He was suspected of being involved in a gang rape that happened in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, and Daegu with four other people in 2016. The victim reported that she was sexually assaulted while intoxicated. Choi Jung-hoon admitted to drinking together with the victim but denied having sex with her. Because of this convict, Choi Jong-hoon faced five years in prison up to life imprisonment. Other than those crimes, Choi Jung-hoon also allegedly shared a photo of a woman and shares it in the group chat. FNC Entertainment, F.T. Island’s agency, terminated his contract and he left the band.
Jung Joon-young was part of the reality show Superstar K with Roy Kim and Eddy Kim. The trio also still continues their friendship until now. Because of their relationship, Eddy Kim’s name was also brought the public for knowing about the hidden camera. MBC’s Newsdesk reported that Eddy Kim has participated in the group chat. Then, on April 5th, Eddy Kim was booked for spreading illegally taken photos. Roy Kim’s name also got dragged for having a relationship with Jung Joon-young and also allegedly taking part in the group chat as Mr. Kim. Roy Kim, who was studying at Georgetown University at that time, returned to South Korea for police questioned. On April 4th, Roy Kim was booked by the Seoul Metropolitan Police for sharing obscene photos. His charge came as a shock to everyone since the netizens knew him as a smart and talented singer.
Lee Jong-hyun from CNBlue isn’t safe either. His chat with Jung Joon-young shows that he actually has accepted explicit videos and talk about the women in the videos. He messaged Jung Joon-young with, “Send me a woman quick,” and “Do you have any ***** that are young, pretty, and nice? Ones that are good to play with.” Those messages were submitted as evidence. He also allegedly shared hidden camera footage with other friends. However, unlike Choi Jung-hoon who had his contract terminated, Lee Jong-hyun is still adamant for staying in the band CNBlue by stating his innocent. Then, FNC Entertainment released a statement that confirms Lee Jong-hyun is acquainted with Jung Joon-young but has no involvement in his crime. At the end of the statement, Lee Jong-hyun promises to take caution of his actions and deeply reflect on his wrongdoings. Now, Lee Jong-hyun is still currently serving in the military.
Other names that also got dragged are model Lee Chul-woo, Super Junior’s Kang-in, and singer Jung Jin-woon. All of them had a relationship with the singer. But, all of them deny the accusations and state that their chatting ended after their show, Hitmaker, which ended in 2016. For Jung Jin-woon, he can’t be questioned because he is still fulfilling mandatory service in the military. Therefore, their names are cleared from all the charges.
Now, Jung Joon-young’s case is opening for a new chapter. After his arrest, a report about his trip with Seungri to Taiwan is suspected of doing criminal activity, namely preparing escorts for Taiwanese customers. Local news at Taiwan reported the news about them visiting Taiwan. But, both Jung Joon-young and Seungri said that the trip is merely a friends trip. However, there is evidence of him recording sexual activity illegally at the hotel during the trip and sharing it with the group.
On May 10th, Jung Joon-young attended the first hearing for the charges of violating the Special Acts on Punishment of Sexual Crimes. This hearing will determine the process of his case. Jung Joon-young’s lawyer asked for a joint hearing with Choi Jong-hoon so the case won’t take long. His lawyer also said that there are allegedly two victims and they asked to see the Ministry of Justice to appoint public defenders so both sides can reach a settlement. The Ministry of Justice granted their requests and held the joint hearing on June 14th.
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