S.Korean police seek cooperation from Chinese law enforcement for the Burning Sun case
Priscilla Wymn, April 4, 2019, 9:18 a.m.
South Korean police confirmed Thursday they are seeking cooperation from Chinese law enforcement in the probe of a nightclub tied to former BIGBANG member Seungri.
The request was made to verify various speculation surrounding a Taiwanese businesswoman, who is said to own a large stake in the nightclub Burning Sun that's under investigation over a range of illegalities.
Speculation has it that she was funded by the Triad, a secret Chinese crime organization based in China, Taiwan, Macau and elsewhere, and her husband is a big shot in Taiwan's gambling community.
"We have learned of such speculation from media reports, and it's one of the many for which we need the help from the Chinese authorities for verification," an official from Seoul's National Police Agency said.
The NPA has also asked Beijing to share any information about Triad's involvement in the cryptocurrency business.
Of the 2.45 billion-won (US$2.15 million) investment in Burning Sun, the Taiwanese investor and Seungri financed 1 billion won and 225 million won, respectively, according to the police.
"Considering a possibility of the Triad making its investment in Burning Sun with cryptocurrency and others, (the police) seem to have asked the Chinese law enforcement authorities for the transfer of people involved," according to officials.
A source in Beijing told Yonhap that the Chinese authorities have yet to respond to the request from the Seoul police.
In connection with the widening probe, the National Police Agency has also called for help through Interpol from the police forces in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan, as well in providing any crime-related information on Korea from crime organizations in their countries.
In the latest briefing, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency probing the sex video case involving Seungri and singer Jung Joon-young, said it has booked Roy Kim, another K-pop singer, on the charge of distributing obscene photographs.
The police plan to soon summon Kim for questioning.
They have also booked three other Burning Sun employees, including one surnamed Ahn who worked as the Taiwanese woman's Korean guide, for embezzlement charges.
The nightclub, located in Gangnam, and its two co-CEOs have also been booked for hiring minors as security guards.
Seungri is also facing a separate police charge of making obscene videos with Choi Jong-hoon, a former member of FT Island, according to the police.
Police officials said there were a total of 23 KakaoTalk group chat rooms that were used by the accused K-pop stars for circulation of obscene videos and photos.
More K-pop stars, including Kangin from K-pop star band Super Junior, Jeong Jin-woon of boy band 2AM and fashion model Lee Chul-woo, were confirmed to have been part of the mobile interaction.
But without clear signs of any criminal conduct, the police have no plans to question them.
Separately, Cho is also facing a criminal charge of attempting to bribe a cop when he was caught while driving under the influence of alcohol in February 2016.