South Korea's K-pop industry hit by tragedies, scandal in 2019

South Korea's K-pop industry hit by tragedies, scandal in 2019

South Korea's K-pop industry hit by tragedies, scandal in 2019 (1)
(Clockwise from top left) Lee Seung-hyun, also known as Seungri, Yang Hyun-suk, Choi Jin-ri, also known as Sulli, Goo Hara, Choi Jong-hoon, Jung Joon-young and Lee Jae-ho. (Photos: AFP/Yonhap/Facebook/Sulli/Instagram/koohara__/Wikipedia/Teokki/Instagram/Jung Joon-young/Reuters)

SEOUL: South Korea's K-pop culture is one of the country's most lucrative soft power exports and has drawn a massive audience of young people internationally, especially in other Asian markets.

While the industry mostly projects a wholesome image on stage and screen, a series of scandals, public personal breakdowns and untimely celebrity deaths this year has drawn attention to the darker side of the culture.

BIGBANG boyband member Seungri -- real name Lee Seung-hyun -- is embroiled in a sex-for-investment
BIGBANG boyband member Seungri - real name Lee Seung-hyun - is embroiled in a sex-for-investment criminal investigation (Photo: AFP/-)

MARCH: Lee Seung-hyun, a member of K-pop band Big Bang who goes by the stage name Seungri, was charged with providing prostitutes to foreign investors in his private club, in a scandal that sent shares of his band's agency, YG Entertainment, plunging.

Yang Hyun-suk YG Entertainment
This undated picture released by Yonhap in Seoul on Jun 14, 2019 shows K-pop mogul Yang Hyun-suk, founder and chief producer of YG Entertainment. (Photo: AFP/Yonhap)  

JUNE: Yang Hyun-suk, founder of YG Entertainment, which managed Seungri and other K-pop artists, stepped down from his duties as chief producer, in the aftermath of drug and sex scandals.

READ: Cyber bullying, star suicides: The dark side of South Korea's K-pop world

READ: 'Gangnam style' sex crime: K-pop scandals uncover dark side of Seoul’s flashiest district

Choi Sulli
Choi Jin-ri was better known as her stage name Sulli. (Photo: Facebook/Sulli)

OCTOBER: Choi Jin-ri, a former member of girl group f(x) who went by the stage name Sulli, died in apparent suicide. She had spoken out against cyberbullying, having become the target of criticism after she spoke out about not wearing a bra in the conservative K-pop industry.

K-pop star Goo Hara found dead
South Korean K-pop star Goo Hara was found dead at her home on Nov 24, 2019. (Photo: Instagram/koohara__)

NOVEMBER: K-pop singer Goo Hara was found dead in her home. Police found a handwritten note in which she expressed despair. She had been subjected to vicious attacks online about her relationships with men, local media said.

kpop stars sentenced for rape
K-pop stars Jung Joon-young (L) and Choi Jong-hoon (R). (Photos: Instagram/Jung Joon-young, Wikipedia/Teokki)

NOVEMBER: K-pop musician Jung Joon-young was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a woman and distributing a video showing the act. 

Choi Jong-hoon, 30, a former member of South Korean boy band FT Island, was sentenced to five years prison for the rape of the woman. Both men were members of online chat groups that shared secret sex videos and made jokes about drugging and raping women, the court said.

South Korean actor Cha In-ha is seen
South Korean actor Cha In-ha is seen in this undated picture provided by his agency Fantasio and released by Yonhap on December 3, 2019. Yonhap via REUTERS

DECEMBER: Lee Jae-ho, a 27-year-old South Korean actor who went by the stage name Cha In-ha, was found dead in his home. The cause of death was not immediately known. The singer-actor had left an Instagram post the day before he was found dead, telling his fans to take care in the cold winter.

DECEMBER: Kang Daniel, former member of the hit boy band Wanna One, decided to take a break as he was suffering from depression and panic attacks, his management agency Konnect Entertainment said.

Where to get help:

Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1800 221 4444

Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222

Singapore Association of Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019

You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.

Source: Reuters/ic

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