Fans, the public, and the media often expect Korean idols to maintain a squeaky-clean image. It’s not uncommon for stars to slip up and get into trouble, but some mistakes have been far bigger than others. For example, these 6 K-Pop stars were arrested for serious crimes including drug use and violence—and some were even jailed.
Before Psy introduced the world to Korean music with “Gangnam Style”, he was subject to a drug use controversy. In late 2001, Psy was arrested for using and possessing marijuana.
He was then sentenced to 25 days in jail, and later fined in January 2002. In 2012, Psy revealed he would regret the incident for the rest of his life because his jail sentence kept him from attending his beloved grandfather’s deathbed or funeral.
2. Kangin (Super Junior)
Former Super Junior member Kangin has been arrested multiple times. His first arrest came in September 2009, when Kangin got into a fight outside of a bar. However, the charges were later dropped after it was proved that Kangin was reacting in self-defence.
In October 2009, Kangin was arrested again for a hit-and-run. After driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.0082%, Kangin collided with a parked taxi but left the scene. He turned himself in for arrest five hours later, and subsequently went on temporary hiatus.
Kangin was then involved in a similar incident in May 2016. This time, however, he had a blood alcohol level of 0.05%, which is the limit for driving under the influence in Korea.
3. Yoochun (TVXQ)
A former TVXQ member and subsequence member of trio JYJ, Yoochun was arrested just last year on drugs charges. On April 23 2019, a police narcotics unit issued an detention warrant after Yoochun tested positive for a drug called Philopon, also known as Japanese methamphematine.
The courts then arrested Yoochun on April 26, citing concerns that Yoochun would destroy evidence or attempt to flee. The charges brought against him were for three counts of purchasing 1.5 grams of Philopon, and five counts of injecting the drugs.
In July, Yoochun was sentenced to 2 years of probation and a ₩1.4 million won fine ($1,150 USD).
Soloist Bumkey, formerly a member of 2winS and Troy, was arrested in October 2014 on charges of selling Philopon and ecstasy. The courts alleged that he sold and distributed 6 grams of Philopen as well as 10 pills of ecstasy to 2 people, citing witnesses and bank records.
At the time, his agency supported his innocence. Later, in April 2015, Bumkey was indeed cleared of all charges. The courts eventually admitted they did not have substantial evidence and could not prosecute Bumkey on witness testimony alone. They also stated that the specifics the witnesses gave did not match up.
5. Daniel (DMTN)
DMTN went on hiatus in 2013, but before that, maknae Daniel was arrested for drug charges. An arrest warrant was originally filed for suspicion of selling and using marijuana. After he tested positive, Daniel admitted to aiding in marijuana distribution, but not directly selling or using it himself.
However, it was later revealed that alongside acting as an intermediary 12 times, he also directly sold marijuana 4 times. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail for using, selling, and distributing drugs, which was later reduced to 3 years of probation. Daniel was also fined ₩7.1 million KRW ($6,000 USD).
6. Sungjin (NRG)
In March 2010, Sungjin of NRG was arrested on charges of fraud. Initially, police had only called him in for voluntary questioning. However, when his crime was reported to another police station that day, Sungjin was arrested on the spot.
According to the charges, Sungjin received a ₩20 million KRW ($16,500 USD) loan from a chauffeur but refused to pay the money back. He initially claimed he borrowed to money for an acquaintance. However, the courts later revealed that Sungjin also had gambling debts of a staggering ₩133 million KRW ($110,500 USD) in the Philippines and ₩13 million KRW ($11,000 USD) in Korea.