BIGBANG's Seungri has announced his retirement from the entertainment industry amid controversies involving his business ventures.
We've collated the sequence of events into a timeline for those who want to understand what's led to the current situation, and where everything stands as of now. We'll keep updating this timeline as news comes to light.
- News Desk airs report where a man, Mr. Kim, says he was assaulted by Burning Sun nightclub staff on November 24, 2018, while helping a woman being sexually harassed. When police arrived, he was arrested as an assailant.
- It is reported that BIGBANG’s Seungri is involved with management at Burning Sun and was at the venue that evening.
- CCTV footage from the club also reveals a separate incident, with a woman shown being dragged down a club hallway. The woman reported the assault to the police who did not take action, and it was reported that Burning Sun deleted the footage.
- Burning Sun CEOs Lee Sung Hyun and Lee Moon Ho issue a statement and apologise for Mr. Kim’s assault and plan to cooperate fully with the investigation. They take disciplinary action against the staff member in question.
- The CEOs provide more CCTV footage from the second incident and state that the woman was removed from a VIP table for causing a disturbance and then assaulted their staff, for which she was arrested. The woman had since apologised and given assault settlement money.
- The CEOs state that Seungri was not at the club on the day of the incident, and that he is someone they don’t see often.
- A Burning Sun representative tells Kyunghyan Shinmun that Seungri managed Burning Sun but is not really the owner.
- KBS News reports that Seungri had been a director of the club but resigned from the position a week prior.
- KBS News also reports testimony from a former Burning Sun employee about VIP room CCTV footage that has gone viral, showing a woman being sexually assaulted by a man. The employee also suggests that illegal drug use occurred in VIP rooms.
- YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun Suk confirms Seungri is no longer Burning Sun’s executive director and that he is resigning from all current business roles as he prepares to enter the military.
- He states that Seungri was at Burning Sun until 3am on November 24, and the incident involving Mr. Kim took place past 6am.
- Mr. Kim is accused of lying by the woman he was supposedly saving. She states that he was sexually harassing her. Mr. Kim is questioned by police.
- Seungri shares statement on Burning Sun incident via his Instagram. He states that he was not there when it occurred but heard about it a few days later. He was shocked by the footage and does not condone any violence. He states that he had been the executive director in charge of promotions at the club, but that the club’s operation and management were not his role.
- Dispatch reveal group chat conversations between Burning Sun staff where they discuss tactics for bringing girls into VIP rooms, looking for drunk women as easy targets and watching VIP clients engage in sexual intercourse via CCTV. Seungri is not part of these conversations.
Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon Ho issues a statement in which he apologises to Seungri. He states that Seungri only helped as a consultant and assisted in contacting foreign DJs. He confirms Burning Sun will remove VIP rooms and increase CCTVs.
Police raid Burning Sun and the Yeoksam District police unit. They confiscate programs related to alleged collusion of police officers as well as CCTV footage. At Burning Sun, they take data necessary to investigate on suspicions of drugs, sex crimes and collusion at the club.
At his solo concert in Seoul, Seungri apologises to fans saying, “I am very apologetic to all those who care for me. I’m sorry for causing disappointment for so many people, and I am reflecting on what has happened”. (Source)
Burning Sun shuts down as the investigation of drug dealing widens to more clubs in the Gangnam area.
Burning Sun assault victim Mr. Kim is suspected of a third count of sexual assault as police review CCTV recordings. He is already accused of two counts.
It is reported that police are investigating Burning Sun executives, including Seungri. Police summon staff members to make statements about Seungri’s role at the club.
- SBS funE release text messages that were allegedly shared between Seungri, CEO Yoo of Yuri Holdings and an employee in 2015. The content implies that they were hiring sexual escort services at Club Arena for foreign investors.
- A few hours after the report, YG release a statement that the texts are fabricated and untrue. Yuri Holdings issue a similar statement, stating that they believe someone with malicious intent towards Seungri fabricated them as a grudge.
- Seoul Police Department confirm that they have launched an investigation into the escort service claims reported by the media.
- YG Entertainment’s stock prices fall amid the controversy.
- SBS funE journalist Kang Kyung Yoon responds to accusations of fabrication and says: “There is no reason to fabricate or edit the reported messages… If a request is received from the investigative agency, I will actively cooperate”. (Source)
- Seungri states through YG Entertainment that he wishes to submit to drug tests as well as cooperate with investigations regarding the allegations surrounding him.
- Seungri attends a police station for questioning that evening and is released 8.5 hours later. He submits to urine and follicle tests, and answers questions about drug and sexual escort allegations. He asks that people wait for the results of the investigation.
- Seungri’s drug tests prove negative, barring the hair follicle test which takes longer to confirm.
- Seungri cancels all scheduled activities, including upcoming concerts in Osaka and Jakarta.
- SBS funE report that a whistleblower submitted the text messages of Seungri ordering sexual escort services to the Anti Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on February 22. The source says they submitted to the Commission because the messages suggest a deep connection with the police.
- A source from the Seoul Metropolitan Police agency initially states: “We have yet to secure an original copy of the messages. We are contacting people [who are tied to the messages] in order to confirm [the existence of the original copy]... Not only have we not confirmed its existence, but we also have received a testimony that such messages do not exist”. (Source)
- Burning Sun co-CEO Lee Sung Hyun admits to bribing a policeman with 20 million won while being investigated for possible entrance of a minor into the club.
News report reveals that the Seoul Police Department were aware of the Commission’s original copy of text messages on March 1. The police formally request for the organisation to cooperate with them regarding the documents.
It is reported that Seungri promoted a club in Hongdae in the past, which is owned by YG and now suspected of tax evasion. Three more clubs become implicated in the tax evasion controversy, with two residing in a building owned by Yang Hyun Suk.
- Seungri confirms he will enlist as an active duty soldier on March 25.
- MBC News share Burning Sun internal documents showing Seungri invested 225 million won in the club and listing him as a corporate promoter. He is also listed as one of four executive directors alongside Lee Sung Hyun, Lee Moon Ho, and an individual referred to as Kang.
- Burning Sun’s list of shareholders includes Yuri Holdings with 20% of shares, of which Seungri is co-CEO.
BIGBANG fans on DC Gallery petition for Seungri to be removed from the group and YG’s roster.
- Police begin searching Club Arena. It is reported that they find evidence of pimping allegations but no confirmation of who is involved. Arena is also investigated on suspicion of tax evasion.
- Police confirm the December 2015 messages are not fabricated.
- Seungri is booked and questioned by police on charges of violating South Korea’s Acts on Pimping and Prostitution and its Punishments. He is currently considered a suspect pending further investigation. Three to four other people in the chat group are also booked.
- Results on Seungri’s follicle drug test prove negative.
- SBS funE report on a KakaoTalk chatroom where hidden camera footage and photos are shared between Seungri, two male singers, CEO Yoo of Yuri Holdings, two regular citizens, and Mr. Kim - an acquaintance of Seungri’s who helped him run his restaurant business and also worked at Club Arena. According to the texts, Mr. Kim posted illegal hidden camera photos and videos, to which Seungri and others responded.
- Police say they are aware of the chatroom allegations and are investigating.
- Seungri announces his retirement from the entertainment industry in an Instagram post. He cites protecting the honour of YG and BIGBANG in it.
- Police prohibit Seungri from leaving the country.
- SBS 8 O’Clock News report that one of the celebrities in the KakaoTalk chatroom is allegedly Drug Restaurant frontman and variety star Jung Joon Young. The report states that he uploaded illegal hidden camera footage to the chat several times, some showing himself engaging in sexual intercourse with women filmed without consent. At least 10 victims are confirmed.
- Jung Joon Young’s agency respond to hidden camera allegations, saying they are unable to ascertain the truth at this time but that the artist is returning to South Korea cooperate with police investigations.
- Jung Joon Young is removed from 2 Days & 1 Night, Salty Tour and 4 Wheeled Restaurant. He will be edited out of episodes that have already been filmed but not aired yet.
- Police book Jung Joon Young on arrival in South Korea and prohibit him from leaving the country.
- The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission transfer the KakaoTalk data to the Supreme Prosecutors' Office after 15-day analysis.
- SBS funE report on messages from July 2016, where Seungri opened a club named Monkey Museum in Gangnam. The alleged messages suggest police covered up issues with reported illegal structures in the building.
- Jung Joon Young admits to hidden camera crimes in apology letter. Investigations will commence on March 14.
- MAKEUS Entertainment terminate their contract with Jung Joon Young.
- YG Entertainment confirms that it has terminated Seungri's contract with the agency.
- YTN report that FTISLAND's Choi Jong Hoon used his connections to police to cover up a drunk driving incident from February 2016. It is alleged that he shared information about the incident in the group chatroom that includes Jung Joon Young and Seungri.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News report that a police officer in charge of Jung Joon Young's 2016 illegal filming case requested the digital forensics company say the data couldn't be restored on Jung Joon Young's phone, the key evidence in the case. The police closed the investigation before receiving the data.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News report on alleged text messages between Choi Jong Hoon, Jung Joon Young, Seungri and other non-celebrities, discussing payment being made to police to cover up Choi's drunk driving accident.
- The former Korea Police Commissioner General, Kang Shin Myung, denies allegations that he is tied to the chatroom including the three idols.
- The current Commissioner General, Min Gap Ryong, holds a press conference acknowledging the possibility of high-ranked officers abusing their power in the past to protect celebrities. He says he will investigate further.
- FNC Entertainment share statement confirming Choi Jong Hoon was caught drunk driving in February 2016. He denies any ties to police. He halts all solo and FTISLAND-related activities while under investigation.
- DC FTISLAND Gallery demand Choi Jong Hoon withdraw from the band.
- Yong Junhyung announces his departure from HIGHLIGHT, after revealing he was aware of Jung Joon Young's hidden camera footage and had discussed it in one-on-one chat conversations. He states that he was not part of any group chats.
- Commissioner General Min Gap Ryong announces plan to investigate corruption in the police force, as well as a nationwide investigation of clubs across South Korea, looking into drugs, sexual assault, the filming and distribution of hidden camera videos, and police connections.
- Seungri, Jung Joon Young and Mr. Yoo report to Seoul Police Agency to start questioning
- Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office takes over the case from the police
- Choi Jong Hoon announces retirement from industry and departure from FTISLAND
- Sisa Journal shared messages from 2014 of Seungri providing sexual escort services to his business partner. He is also revealed to have gambled overseas - an illegal act for Korean citizens.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News reports CNBLUE's Lee Jong Hyun messages with Jung Joon Young in one-on-one chatroom, including sharing of illegal hidden cam videos. It is reported Lee Jong Hyun has also filmed women without their consent.
- Jung Joon Young completes police questioning after 21 hours
- Seungri completes police questioning and states he will be asking the military to delay his enlistment date so he can complete the investigation..
visit sbs.com.au for more updates.