On January 28, footage was revealed of a man being assaulted by guards at the club Burning Sun, which Seungri was known as an executive director of. What most people did not see coming at the time was the shocking unveiling of numerous criminal activities that have been taking place for years and involving many individuals including top celebrities, powerful figures, the police, and more. Some of the suspected crimes include prostitution mediation, filming and circulation of illegal hidden camera footage, drug usage, bribing the police, gambling, and tax evasion.
This outbreak of events has become known as “Burning Sun Gate,” and 50 days have now passed since its beginning.
Here are some of the key figures who have played a large part in this series of incidents:
– Booked on charges of violating the law on prostitution mediation and other related actions
– Resigned as executive director of Burning Sun
– Left BIGBANG and announced retirement from entertainment industry on March 11
Yoo In Suk
– Seungri’s business partner who worked on him on several businesses including Burning Sun
– Husband of actress Park Han Byul
– Revealed as influential figure in chatroom
– Acquainted with police officer “Yoon”
– Lost position as CEO of Yuri Holdings on March 15
– Booked on charges of filming and spreading illegal hidden camera footage
– Announced retirement from entertainment industry on March 13
– Not a member of group chatroom
– Received illegal hidden camera footage sent to him by Jung Joon Young and participated in inappropriate conversations
– Left Highlight on March 14
Choi Jong Hoon
– Being investigated for sharing illegal hidden camera footage
– Under suspicion of using connections to cover up drunk driving incident from 2016
– Left FTISLAND and announced retirement from entertainment industry on March 14
– Left group chatroom several years ago
– Watched illegal hidden camera footage sent to him by Jung Joon Young and participated in inappropriate conversations
– Former employee of Burning Sun
– Set up hidden cameras for filming illegal footage
Lee Moon Ho
– CEO of Burning Sun
– Status changed to suspect after testing positive in drug test
– Defended himself and Seungri from controversies
Senior Superintendent Police Officer “Yoon”
– Acquainted with Yoo In Suk
– Booked for suspicion of covering up criminal activities of members in chatroom
SBS funE Reporter Kang Kyung Yoon
– Reporter who released the first reports suggesting Seungri taking part in prostitution mediation and about his participation in a chatroom with other celebrities sharing illegal hidden camera footage
Lawyer Bang Jung Hyun
– Lawyer who sent the KakaoTalk conversation data to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on behalf of the original whistleblower
Timeline of Key Events
Here is a breakdown of some of the major incidents that have occurred:
– MBC’s “News Desk” reveals CCTV footage of a man being assaulted by security guards at Burning Sun. Later in the week, Yang Hyun Suk and Seungri apologize for the controversy but deny Seungri’s involvement in the incident.
– SBS funE shares messages exchanged between Seungri, “C” (later revealed to be Choi Jong Hoon), Yoo In Suk, and Burning Sun employee “Kim.” The messages suggest that Seungri lobbied to investors and offered sexual favors as bribes.
– YG and Yuri Holdings both comment that the reports are not true and that the messages are fabricated, and the police launch an investigation regarding the reports.
– Seungri completes his first round of police questioning from February 27 through 28.
– YG Entertainment announces that Seungri will cancel all upcoming scheduled activities.
– SBS funE reveals that the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission procured the original copy of the messages. The person who reported the messages did not send them to the police as there are suspicions of connections with the police.
– YG Entertainment confirms that Seungri will be enlisting as an active duty soldier on March 25.
– MBC shares evidence that Seungri played a large role in the formation of Burning Sun.
– Seungri is booked on charges of violating the law on the punishment of prostitution mediation and other related actions.
– SBS funE reports that Seungri and two other male celebrities shared illegal hidden camera footage in a chatroom.
– Seungri announces his retirement from the entertainment industry.
– Jung Joon Young is reported as one of the celebrities who shared illegal hidden camera footage.
– Yong Junhyung’s agency Around Us Entertainment denies his involvement in the chatroom. Yong Junhyung personally denies the reports the next day.
– “2 Days & 1 Night,” “Salty Tour,” and “4 Wheeled Restaurant” confirm Jung Joon Young’s removal from the programs. His performance at “Beautiful Mint Life 2019” is also canceled.
– The original reporter of the chatroom, Kang Kyung Yoon, denies Lee Hong Ki’s involvement.
– Kang Kyung Yoon, as well as Dispatch, deny rumors of various female celebrities being victims of the hidden camera footage. Agencies of female celebrities who were mentioned in the false rumors announce that strong legal action will be taken.
– Jung Joon Young is booked on charges of spreading illegal hidden camera footage.
– SBS reports more content from the chatroom with Jung Joon Young including discussion of criminal acts.
– FNC Entertainment denies Lee Jong Hyun and Choi Jong Hoon being involved in the group chatrooms.
– Jung Joon Young admits to his crimes in a letter of apology.
– MAKEUS Entertainment terminates Jung Joon Young’s exclusive contract.
– YG Entertainment terminates Seungri’s exclusive contract.
– Lawyer Bang Jung Hyun, who sent the KakaoTalk conversation data to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission on behalf of the original whistleblower, reveals possible ties that the chatroom members had with the police. The Commissioner General of the Korean National Police Agency confirms contents of the message that suggest connections.
– SBS funE and SBS’s 8 O’Clock News report additional instances of the chatroom members having connections with the police.
– Choi Jong Hoon admits to a drunk driving incident from 2016 but denies using a connection with the police to cover it up as reported previously. SBS shares messages exchanged between Choi Jong Hoon, Seungri, and more which suggest that connections were used to cover up the incident.
– Yong Junhyung announces his departure from Highlight and explains his messages with Jung Joon Young.
– FNC Entertainment announces Choi Jong Hoon’s departure from FTISLAND and retirement from the entertainment industry. He also personally addresses the controversies in a letter of apology.
– New reports reveal messages showing evidence of Seungri engaging in habitual gambling abroad and providing sexual escort services to his business partner.
– SBS unveils explicit one-on-one conversations exchanged between Jung Joon Young and Lee Jong Hyun. The next day, FNC Entertainment releases an official statement of apology on behalf of Lee Jong Hyun regarding the conversations.
– Jung Joon Young completes his first round of police questioning, while Seungri completes his second. Yoo In Suk also receives questioning from the police.
– Yoo In Suk resigns from his position as CEO of Yuri Holdings. SBS reports on his influential role in the chatroom.
– “2 Days & 1 Night” announces an indefinite hiatus following Jung Joon Young’s removal.
– Senior Superintendent “Yoon,” who was identified as a suspect of having ties to members of the chatroom, admits being acquainted to Yoo In Suk. “Yoon” is booked by the police two days later.
– FNC Entertainment denies rumors of Lee Jong Hyun sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women in the past and announces that legal action will be taken.
– Choi Jong Hoon completes police questioning for allegedly spreading illegally taken photos and videos.
– Lee Moon Ho defends himself and Seungri from controversies
– Cha Tae Hyun and Kim Joon Ho are revealed to have bet large amounts of money over a game of golf through messages found in Jung Joon Young’s phone. Both of them apologize and step down from their programs.
– Jung Joon Young completes his second round of police questioning, and the police announce that an arrest warrant will be requested for him.
– Seungri submits official request to postpone his military enlistment.
– President Moon Jae In orders thorough investigations of controversies.
– SBS releases phone interview with Choi Jong Hoon from March 2 when he talked about his ties to Senior Superintendent “Yoon.”
– Request is submitted to court to issue arrest warrants for Jung Joon Young, Mr. Kim, and Mr. Jang, Burning Sun’s director from the initial assault case.
This timeline will be updated continuously as the stories progress.
Top left and right photo credit: Xportsnews