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. He submits three cell phones for forensics to process.
- Seungri completes police questioning and states he will be asking the military to delay his enlistment date so he can complete the investigation.
- The military say it is unlikely they can delay Seungri's enlistment, but if he puts in the request they will look over his reasoning before March 25, when he is due to enlist.
- Yuri Holdings replace their CEO, effectively making Mr. Yoo resign from his position.
- FNC Entertainment issue statement confirming Lee Jong Hyun watched hidden camera footage sent to him via KakaoTalk, and had inappropriate conversations degrading women.
- Police conduct search and seizure at Jung Joon Young's and Mr. Kim's homes. Mr. Kim is the Burning Sun employee involved in the chatroom where illegal hidden camera footage was shared. It's reported that Mr. Kim set up the cameras.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News reports that former Yuri Holdings CEO Mr. Yoo was an influential figure in the chatroom, acting as a problem solver. He 'prepared women' for parties, and helped cover up news of Choi Jong Hoon's 2016 drunk driving incident.
- 2 Days & 1 Night is suspended indefinitely.
- DC CNBLUE Gallery ask for Lee Jong Hyun to leave CNBLUE.
- Choi Jong Hoon enters police questioning as a suspect in the spreading of illegal photos/videos, and requesting police cover up his drunk driving incident.
- KBS report that Jung Joon Young received services from a prostitute gifted to him by former Yuri Holdings CEO, Mr Yoo.
- The police officer suspected of misusing his position to cover up criminal activity is confirmed as an acquaintance of Mr. Yoo, former CEO of Yuri Holdings. He is removed from his position as senior superintendent officer.
- MBN reports that Jung Joon Young has been under investigation by the Seoul Police Sophisticated Crime Investigation Unit about hidden camera footage since November 2018 after being tipped off by an informant.
- FNC Entertainment deny rumours Lee Jong Hyun sexually harassed people after rumours spread online.
- Choi Jong Hoon completes police questioning after 21 hours.
- Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon Ho says to Kyunghyang Shinmun that he is actively cooperating with police. He defends Seungri saying: "if Seungri's KakaoTalk messages from three years ago are a crime, aren't all Korean men criminals? They were just hoking, and it's not like actual prostitution took place..." (Source)
- KBS 9 O'Clock News reports Kim Joon Ho and Chae Tae Hyun engaged in illegal betting while playing golf, found in the 2 Days & 1 Night chatroom in Jung Joon Young's phone. Both depart from programs.
- Jung Joon Young is summoned for second round of questioning by Seoul police.
- Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency decide to request an arrest warrant for Jung Joon Young for violating the act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Violence Crimes.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News report that in a production phone call Choi Jong Hoon had admitted to knowing Senior Superintendent Yoon, who is suspected of misusing his position to cover up criminal activity.
- Police book Senior Superintendent Yoon and plan to book three other employees. They will be charged with leaking confidential information. All four are reassigned to different police stations.
- Newsis report that two women mentioned in Seungri's KakaoTalk chatroom have been questioned as witnesses, and are under suspicion of providing services as prostitutes at Club Arena, which the women denied.
- 40 individuals including Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon Ho are booked for distribution and usage of drugs. 14 are Burning Sun employees, three are club promoters, and 17 are involved in other clubs. Nine suspects are involved with distributing date-rape drug GHB.
- Seungri officially requests to postpone his military enlistment.
- President Moon Jae In orders thorough investigations on Burning Sun and all nightclubs, as well as late actor Jang Ja Yeon.
- Arrest warrants are submitted to court by prosecution for Jung Joon Young and former Burning Sun employee Mr. Kim.
- Senior Superintendent Yoon and former Yuri Holdings CEO Yoo In Suk banned from leaving the country.
- In an interview with Sisa Journal, Seungri denies allegations of prostitution services and gambling, saying it was just friends bluffing and showing off in the KakaoTalk chatroom.
- Yoo In Suk writes apology letter denying all accusations made against him.
- Actress Park Han Byul, who is married to Yoo In Suk, will be investigated a s witness in the ongoing investigations involving her husband.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News report details on Seungri's other club Monkey Museum, which was registered as a retailer. KakaoTalk conversations between Seungri and business acquaintances showed they knew the illegality but planned to bribe authorities if necessary.
- Burning Sun employee 'Anna', suspected of selling drugs to VIP clients, tests positive for multiple drugs. Anna was also one of the women who sued Mr. Kim - the man who accused Burning Sun staff of assault - for sexual harassment.
- The arrest warrant for Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon Ho is rejected.
- Seungri's military enlistment is officially postponed.
- YG Entertainment to undergo a special tax investigation.
- Choi Jong Hoon officially booked for bribing police in drunk driving incident from 2016. He and the police officer in question will be investigated.
- Jung Joon Young placed under arrest for filming and sharing hidden camera footage and photos
- KBS reports that Seungri was aware of Monkey Museum's illegal operations
- FNC Entertainment terminates contract with Choi Jong Hoon
- MBC Newsdesk reports allegations of YG Entertainment and Yang Hyun Suk being suspected of tax evasion for overseas performances, in which income was reported by individual performer rather than agency earnings.
- Jung Joon Young placed in detention centre while awaiting trial
- Former police officer Mr. Kang forwarded to prosecution for charges of accepting bribes to cover up Burning Sun's alleged illegal business practices.
- SBS 8 O'Clock News report that during police questioning, Seungri denied suspicions of him bribing Senior Superintendent Yoon.
- Newsdesk reports that another Burning Sun staff member sexually assaulted and illegally filmed women.
- TV Chosun reports that Jung Joon Young reportedly wiped data from one of three phones that he submitted to police.
- Seungri gives interview to Chosun Ilbo denying his involvement in Burning Sun, prostitution services and connections to Senior Superintendent Yoon. He states that he tried to stop Jung Joon Young from sharing illegal footage.
SBS 8 O'Clock News reports that a woman, Ms. Kim, has given testimony about allegedly being drugged at Burning Sun and being wrongfully accused by police as being a violent assailant.
- YG Entertaiment remove Seungri merchandise from their official online store and blurs Seungri's image on current BIGBANG merchandise.
- Police lay additional charges against Seungri, Jung Joon Young and Choi Jong Hoon for sharing illegally taken videos and photos.
- Police involved in the original investigation of the Burning Sun assault involving Mr. Kim are placed under investigation by The Office of Inspection & Public Complaints.
- Newsdesk reports on police investigation documents that state that Seungri, Jung Joon Young, Choi Jong Hoon and other members of the chatroom changed their phones after the news broke about the illegal footage shared between them. The group discussed switching their phones in the chatroom.
- MBC reports there are eight singers in group chatrooms sharing illegal hidden camera footage, with 16 people in total involved.
- Yonhap News reports that Seungri, Jung Joon Young and Choi Jong Hoon all uploaded illegally taken photos or videos in the chatrooms.
- Choi Jong Hoon booked for sexual assault, under suspicion of filming a sex video without consent. He is also charged with sharing illegal sex videos.
- Seungri and Mr. Yoo are booked on charges of embezzling funds from their nightclub Monkey Museum.
- Police state they have acquired testimony partially confirming allegations of Seungri's prostitution mediation, but are continuing their investigation.
- Senior Superintendent Yoon booked for receiving bribes, after he accepted three BIGBANG tickets from Seungri as a gift.
- Roy Kim is reported as the previously unidentified singer 'Kim' in the Jung Joon Young chatroom. He is to be questioned by police as a witness.
- Joongang Ilbo reports police have traced funds from Burning Sun to bank accounts under different names which were routed to Seungri, suggesting he embezzled from the club.
2AM's Jinwoon, Super Junior's Kangin and model Lee Chul Woo are mentioned as potential participants in Jung Joon Young's KakaoTalk chatroom but police are currently only considering them as witnesses.
- Police state Choi Jong Hoon has admitted to bribing a police officer in 2016 drunk driving incident.
- Roy Kim's status is changed from witness to suspect. He is booked on charges of spreading illegally taken photos.
- Eddy Kim confirmed as another member of Jung Joon Young's chatroom and questioned by police. He denies filming or spreading illegal footage.
- Seungri is questioned by police on suspicions of destroying evidence after police find messages from a group chat where he told members to get new phones.
- Eddy Kim is booked for charges of spreading illegally taken footage.
- Yonhap News reports new evidence allegedly proving Seungri was involved in Burning Sun's management and that Yuri Holdings initially held more shares
- SBS 8 O'Clock News reports that Seungri's Hong Kong-based company BC Holdings may be a shell corporation.
- Channel A report that police have confirmed eight professional escorts were in attendance at Seungri's birthday party held in the Philippines in 2017, and that after questioning the women, police secured testimony that Seungri was involved in prostitution mediation.
- Roy Kim arrives in Korea to attend police questioning.
- KBS restricts Jung Joon Young, Seungri and Choi Jong Hoon from appearing on programs. The ban may be lifted if their charges are cleared.
- Roy Kim attends police station to undergo questioning
- Newsroom reports new allegations of prostitution mediation by Seungri for foreign investors in December 2015.
- Roy Kim, Eddy Kim and Choi Jong Hoon admit to sharing illegally taken photos
- Choi Jong Hoon admits to illegally filming video
- Star Today reports Seungri and Yoo In Suk have been booked on suspicions of embezzling from Burning Sun
- News A reports that Seungri took 10 million won from Yuri Holdings to allegedly pay for legal fees of a staff member accused of sexual assault. Seungri denies embezzlement accusations.
- BBC Korea reports on new Jung Joon Young chatroom messages that depict sexual assault and compare women to comfort women.
Sports Chosun reports that Seungri was the manager/admin of the Jung Joon Young chatroom
- Jung Joon Young indicted for violating sex crimes act. Police find 11 illegally taken videos/images, shared across 14 instances.
- Choi Jong Hoon, Roy Kim and Eddy Kim's cases forwarded to prosecution
We'll continue to update this timeline as events unfold.
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