Strap in, folks, because you’re about to get a massive dose of K-pop drama.
South Korean pop star Seungri is the youngest and one of the most beloved members of Big Bang – who are, along with BTS, one of the biggest boy bands in a country where boy bands are basically a religion.
Or rather, Seungri was one of the most beloved members of Big Bang. Because he’s just announced his retirement from showbiz entirely due to the fact that he’s being investigated in connection with a prostitution ring.
A police raid on a nightclub co-owned by Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, led to him being classified as a suspect and reportedly charged.
The club in the wealthy Gangnam district has been at the centre of allegations including drug-related incidents and violence, arranging escorts for foreign investors in violation of South Korean law, and most horrifyingly, of “drug-addled” female patrons being “supplied” to VIPs at nightclubs.
“We booked Seung-ri and changed his status to that of a suspect in order to issue a search and seizure warrant and clear [him] of the suspicions,” a spokesman for the Seoul police said at a press conference.
Seungri is Big Bang’s “maknae”, or the baby of the group, making him a clear fan favourite in the bad-boy boyband – but this is just the latest in a series of scandals he’s been involved in.
A 2012 scandal saw details of a one-night stand in Japan leaked to tabloids, along with a photo of him in bed.
And the Seoul Broadcasting Service is now reporting new allegations regarding the sharing of sex videos.
His arrest sent shares in the band’s talent agency, YG, crashing by 14%, according to Variety.
It has also clashed with what should have been one of the biggest news days in K-pop, as BTS had just announced their comeback (i.e. a new album cycle) on the very same day.
The stans of each group are absolutely at war, of course, because K-pop Twitter is WILD.
Summarized: kpop industry coming for our wigs lol
— G I M A (@gimawithluv) March 11, 2019
Big Bang are currently on hiatus, as the other four members are performing their mandatory military service.
While Seungri was supposed to enlist for his service in just two weeks, it’s looking like he might have to postpone it to sort out this massive mess – and the band’s future is in serious jeopardy.