|Jung Joon-young, left, and Seungri appear at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency for questioning,Thursday. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul, Choi Won-suk|
By Kang Seung-woo
K-pop singers Jung Joon-young and Seungri appeared for questioning by the police Thursday, over allegations of illicitly recording and sharing sex videos online, and for the latter, providing sexual services for business partners.
Jung, 30, arrived at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency at 10 a.m., two days after returning from an overseas shoot, following the allegations.
"I apologize for causing public concern. I will cooperate fully with the police investigation," he told reporters.
However, he remained mum on questions from a swarm of reporters awaiting his appearance.
Jung was identified as a suspect in the scandal Tuesday, and publically admitted his wrongdoings the following day on social media.
During their investigation, police questioned Jung on whether he secretly filmed women he was having sex with and then shared the videos with acquaintances, including Seungri, in several group chat rooms.
At least 10 women were filmed over a period of 10 months from the end of 2015, according to police.
He underwent a drug test as well, as some excerpts from the online conversations suggested drug abuse.
In addition, Jung was also questioned as to whether he was cleared in another sex video scandal, which surfaced in 2016, thanks to his close ties with police officers.
Local broadcaster SBS revealed Wednesday that an officer had tried to tamper with evidence in the case, in which an ex-girlfriend accused Jung of filming them having sex without her consent.
Police said they are considering applying for an arrest warrant.
"Given the seriousness of the crime and the gravity of the issue, we are considering requesting an arrest warrant for Jung," an officer said.
If convicted, it is expected that Jun could receive the maximum prison term for illegal making sex videos and sharing them, and be placed on the sex offender register.
The scandal became public during a police investigation into Seungri, who has been charged with providing prostitutes to foreign investors in his new business.
About three hours after Jung's appearance, Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, also underwent questioning as a criminal suspect. Along with the former member of BIGBANG, his business partner and Yuri Holdings CEO, Yu, was also questioned.
"I offer an apology to the people and those who were hurt," Seungri said, adding he would cooperate fully with police questioning.
Like Jung, he declined to comment further.
The allegation emerged last month after the conversation in the chatroom hinted he had sought out the sex services in December 2015.
In the wake of the scandals, police are in the hot seat over allegations that they have cozy ties with celebrities.
In the eight-member group chat, they implied the national police chief had their backs, although it is yet to be uncovered whether this was true or just an empty boast about a connection with high ranking officials. One conversation showed police had helped prevent K-pop band F.T. Island member Choi Jong-hoon's reported for drunk driving in 2016. Choi admitted to the allegation but denied he had ties to the police.
Amid growing criticism, National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong vowed to launch a full-scale probe into corruption allegations surrounding the police.
"After clearing every allegation, I plan to make a sincerely apology to the people," Min told lawmakers on the National Assembly Public Administration and Security Committee in a hearing Thursday.