K-pop’s Seungri charged with deploying gangsters at bar

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Jan. 15 (UPI) — A South Korean celebrity who owned a nightclub in Seoul that shuttered after multiple rape incidents was indicted for mobilizing gang members.

Seungri, a former member of boy band Big Bang, was charged with “special assault,” the general military court of South Korea’s Ground Operations Command said, according to local paper Hankook Ilbo on Friday.

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Seungri, 30, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, already has been charged with facilitating sex trafficking, embezzling funds from his own nightclub and gambling overseas. South Korean law prohibits citizens from gambling, even when they are abroad.

South Korean military prosecutors said Thursday the defendant conspired with Yoo In-suk, former chief executive of Yuri Holdings Co., to send gang members to attack a customer who had a dispute with Seungri at a bar in Seoul in 2015.

Seungri and Yoo “displayed force and threatened victims,” prosecutors said.

The charges that were addressed this week referred to an incident in late December 2015. After an argument erupted between Seungri and another bar customer at the time, Seungri called Yoo to ask for muscle, according to the Chosun Ilbo on Thursday.

Seungri’s legal counsel said his client completely denies the allegations and will submit an opinion, according to reports.

Past charges against the defendant, who is currently completing his mandatory military service, relate to rape-and-drugging incidents at Burning Sun, where he served as a board of director and held shares.

The club was shuttered in 2019 after local reports said eyewitnesses saw women being dragged to VIP rooms. Whistleblowers were assaulted by staff when they tried to help, reports said.

Burning Sun opened in 2018 but continued to operate even after victims of sexual assault notified police.

Last year South Korean prosecutors charged a senior officer with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency with cover up.

Seungri has denied nearly all charges.