Police questioning 2 K-pop stars in sex scandals

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SEOUL, South Korea — Police on Thursday questioned two K-pop stars over interlocking sex scandals that have fascinated South Korea and prompted both men to announce they are retiring from the entertainment industry.

Seungri, a member of the superstar group Big Bang, bowed deeply at a Seoul police station before more than 100 journalists. Police said they are investigating allegations that the 28-year-old attempted to arrange illegal sexual services for his business investors.

"I once again lower my head and apologize to the people and all others who were hurt," Seungri said before entering the police station. "I'll faithfully undergo an investigation and give sincere answers" to police questioning.

In South Korea, celebrities involved in scandals often issue public apologies even as they maintain their innocence. Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, has denied the sexual-bribery allegation, but announced his retirement on Monday.

Earlier Thursday, fellow K-pop star Jung Joon-young, 29, came to the police station to be questioned about an allegation that he secretly filmed himself having sex with women and then shared the videos with friends in private group chats.

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"I feel very sorry for causing concern to the people and will faithfully undergo an investigation," Jung told reporters. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Jung said in a statement Wednesday that he recorded the videos without the consent of the women in them. He apologized to the victims and to those he disappointed and angered. He also said he was retiring from the entertainment industry.

Media reports have said Seungri was among the men in a Kakao Talk group chatroom where Jung posted his sex videos. Police said there were several Kakao Talk chatrooms involved but didn't elaborate.

Big Bang has been one of the most successful bands in K-pop since its debut in 2006, attracting huge, loyal followings in Asia and around the world. Forbes magazine reported in 2016 that the band took home $44 million in pretax earnings the previous year.

Seungri has been engaged in diverse business ventures, including a ramen franchise and a dance academy, and enjoyed displaying his lavish lifestyle.

Big Bang is on temporary hiatus as its four other members fulfill about two years of military or alternative service, a requirement for all able-bodied men in South Korea. Seungri is set to start his mandatory military service on March 25.


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