Seungri indicted, without detention

SEOUL • Seungri was arguably the most high-profile artist ensnared in a K-pop scandal that erupted last year, but was not hauled to court even as two other singers were charged and received jail sentences.

On Thursday, however, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office indicted, without detention, the former BigBang singer for allegedly gambling overseas and procuring prostitutes for investors.

An indictment essentially means that the authorities have largely wrapped up investigations and taken a step closer to having a trial.

Seungri, 29, is accused of arranging sex services for investors from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong between December 2015 and January 2016, reported The Korea Times.

Prosecutors believe he gambled in Las Vegas with Yang Hyun-suk, founder and former chief of YG Entertainment, with their trips spanning more than three years from December 2013.

Seungri, who left BigBang in March last year after Burning Sun – a nightclub which he was linked to – was probed over drug and sexual abuses, reportedly incurred gambling losses of more than US$1 million (S$1.36 million).

The indictment comes two weeks after a Seoul court denied an arrest warrant for the artist, citing “room for dispute” and little concern that he could destroy evidence.

While Seungri has now been indicted, some netizens think he is unlikely to be jailed if he is put on trial. They feel that his alleged offences pale against those of two other South Korean singers – Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon.

Last November, Jung and Choi received six-year and five-year jail terms respectively for gang-rape, among other offences.