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2NE1 member Park Bom’s past 'drug smuggling' case sparks controversy

K-pop girl group 2NE1’s Park Bom has become mired in controversy following a recent media report that claimed she was involved in a drug smuggling case four years ago.

SEOUL: K-pop girl group 2NE1’s Park Bom has become mired in controversy following a recent media report that claimed she was involved in a drug smuggling case four years ago, reported Korean media.

The report said that in October 2010, Korean customs officers discovered a package with 82 tablets containing amphetamines, a substance illegal in Korea, addressed to Park’s relative.

The package was later found to have been meant for Park.

This act of receiving a package containing illegal substances is considered drug smuggling in Korea.

According to the report, Park admitted that she had indeed purchased the drugs when prosecutors questioned her about the incident.

However, the case was later closed without being logged, which meant that Park was free to go, and was not recorded as having been a crime suspect.

The media report sparked questions over whether the prosecutor in charge of the case had given Park preferential treatment because she was an artiste, and why Park had purchased the drugs in the first place.

Yang Hyun-suk, the head of YG Entertainment, 2NE1’s management agency, addressed the controversy with a lengthy letter posted on the company’s blog on Tuesday, in which he attempted to explain what happened.

He said he felt obligated to step forward and speak on the matter, as Park had told nobody else in the company about it, making him the only one who understood what went on at the time.

He revealed that Park simply wanted to fill a prescription she had for drugs to treat her depression at the time, but did not know that the drugs contained substances illegal in Korea.

Yang said he only found out about the whole incident after Park’s parents came to him four years ago and told him they were being investigated.

“As the fans would already know, Bom lived in the US for a long period of time before making a debut as 2NE1. And she once had a dream of becoming a soccer player.

“But unfortunately, she had to witness a close friend’s death during a soccer match and she was put into deep shock and sadness that were too hard for a young girl to handle,” said Yang.

“She went through very difficult times, having to undergo psychotherapy and psychological treatment at the same time.”

“She had been consistently taking medication officially prescribed by a famous university-affiliated hospital in the US.”

"Since the incident Bom was no longer able to play soccer and decided to become a singer."

Park travelled to Korea, and would audition twice before getting accepted into YG Entertainment on her third attempt.

Yang said that up until the drug-related incident four years ago, Park had been consuming the drugs prescribed by the US hospital, which were unavailable in Korea.

Her mother and grandmother sent her the prescription drugs because she could not go to the US to get them due to her hectic schedule.

“The problem at the customs arose as the medication happened to be banned in South Korea,” said Yang.

The US hospital later sent her medical records and prescription information to the Korean authorities during the investigation as proof that she had no intention to smuggle drugs, and Park was let off.

She switched to a different drug prescribed by a Korean hospital following the incident.

“I had not seen Bom for a while since she was busy with the World Tour, and just last night she came into the office for recording, and the articles were published,” said Yang.

“I had to watch Bom break into tears all night, and I feel terrible that I am in the position to bring up her painful past that she did not want to reveal.”

 “I extend my deepest apology for causing any worries.”

An official from the Prosecutor’s Office in Seoul has since denied that they had mishandled the case four years ago, and said Park was let off because she had a legitimate prescription from a US hospital for the drugs in the package.

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