A former K-pop star was sentenced to jail by a military court in South Korea for crimes among which are included illegal gambling at foreign casinos and arranging illegal sexual services.
Soliciting Sexual Services
Former member of boy band Big Bang Lee Seung-hyun, known as Seungri, was sentenced to three years in jail for arranging illegal sexual services for foreign business investors and violation of the law prohibiting overseas gambling.
The ruling, which also included a ₩1.15 billion ($989,000) fine, was made by a military court after Seungri enlisted for his military duties in March 2020 and his case was transferred from a civil court.
In January 2020, the prominent musician was indicted on multiple charges, including the arrangement of illegal sexual services for business investors from Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong for the period between 2015 and 2016.
Seungri was also convicted of siphoning funds from a nightclub in Seoul that he ran, and of violating the prohibition for overseas gambling after multiple occasions of heavy gambling at foreign casinos between 2013 and 2017.
According to a Yonhap news agency report, Seungri, who appeared in the army court in Yongin near Seoul dressed in a combat uniform, shook his head multiple times in disagreement when the judge announced the verdict. Previously, the former K-pop star denied all accusations.
Seungri had to leave the band that made him one of the biggest stars in K-pop in 2019, following media reports of his participation in the illegal prostitution schemes. Big Bang, which debuted in 2006, attracted a lot of fans across Asia and other parts of the world, and in 2016, Forbes reported the band made $44 million in pretax earnings in the previous 12 months.
Re-Union In Jail
Seungri is the latest South Korean musician to receive a prison sentence in recent years after several scandals rocked the entertainment industry in the country. Previously, singer Jung Joon-young and a member of rock band F.T. Island, Choi Jong-hoon, were sentenced to six and five years, respectively, after both were found guilty of gang-raping drunk, unconscious women. Jung was also charged with filming and distributing the videos in a group chat.
The case against Jung and Choi was raised as a result of the investigation into Seungri. Police found some of Jung’s rape victim videos and launched separate investigations. Seungri was reportedly a member of the group chat.