K-Pop Star Seungri Arrested for Pimping
Seungri, a member of K-pop group Big Bang, was arrested on March 10 on charges that he procured prostitutes for potential investors.
He was the director of the club Burning Sun, where the prostitutes serviced their clients. The club was allegedly a center of other illicit activity as well, from drug sales to sex trafficking. The police raided the club, located in the affluent Gangnam neighborhood of Seoul, on March 10.
He currently faces a potential three-year jail sentence. After the allegations came out, Seungri promised to retire from show business, posting the following remarks on Instagram: “Because the controversy I have caused is so great, I have decided to retire from the entertainment industry,” he wrote.
The investigation began when an entertainment magazine published a series of text messages in which Seungri instructs a subordinate to bring a Taiwanese investor to meet escorts at another nightclub, Arena.
Although Seungri denies the allegations and claims that the text messages are fake, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that close examination of the messages demonstrated “enough reason to launch an investigation.”
The police investigation has also grown to include potential charges of tax evasion by a number of high-end clubs in the Gangnam area. After raiding the National Tax Service office in Seoul, police have begun to examine illicit connections between tax officials and the nightclub industry.
After an audit of Arena’s books, the National Tax Service informed the South Korean police that six of the club’s co-owners owed more than $13 million in unpaid back taxes.
Big Bang is one of Korea’s most popular K-pop groups, but Seungri’s digressions might affect their standing among their fans. However, Big Bang has withstood numerous past scandals and still remained successful.
The group has been on hiatus since early 2018 in order to enable its members to carry out their mandatory military service. The break from the spotlight may help the band preserve their popularity.
Even if Seungri’s arrest and retirement from entertainment do harm Big Bang’s status as one of K-pop’s most popular groups, all of the other members have also had “successful solo careers.”
However, there remain potential financial repercussions for Seungri and Big Bang’s entertainment agency, YG Entertainment. When Seungri’s name first came out in relation to the police investigation, YG stock fell by fourteen percent.