Prostitution case forces K-pop Big Bang member Seungri into retirement

March 12, 2019 - 3:20 PM
2601
The K-pop star Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, will leave the entertainment industry after his alleged sex bribery case swept the country. (Seungri/Facebook)

SEOUL— A member of South Korean K-pop band Big Bang who uses the stage name Seungri will leave the entertainment industry after his alleged sex bribery case swept the country, he said on Monday.

The decision came a day after he was charged with providing prostitutes to foreign investors in his private club, media said, driving down shares of his agency as much as 16 percent.

“I think it is about the right time to retire from show business,” the 28-year-old singer said on his Instagram account, adding that he would cooperate with the police investigation into the accusation.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

The K-pop star, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, apologised to his fans and said he had been branded a “traitor to the nation”.

His agency, YG Entertainment Inc, told Reuters it did not have any fresh comment on his position.

Shares of YG Entertainment fell as much as 15.6 percent on Monday to their lowest since November 2018.

Lee denied procuring prostitutes last month when media said he had been involved in “sex bribery”.

In a statement after the February media report, YG Entertainment said it was false.

Seungri made his official debut in August 2006 along with the group’s other four members: G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang and Daesung. It has drawn many fans across Asia in places such as Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan.

The scandal comes ahead of the singer’s mandatory military service, which all able-bodied South Korean men are required to complete.

All the other four group members are now serving in the military. On Friday, the agency said the singer would join the army this month to fulfil his military duties. —Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Robert Birsel, Ju-min Park