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Koo Ha-ra played pivotal role in exposing the Burning Sun scandal: BBC

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Late singer Koo Ha-ra in July 2018 [YONHAP]
Late singer Koo Ha-ra in July 2018 [YONHAP]

Late K-pop singer Koo Ha-ra was a pivotal figure in exposing criminal celebrities related to the Burning Sun scandal in 2019, namely Seungri and Jung Joon-young, a BBC documentary revealed on Sunday.

BBC Korea rolled out an hourlong documentary on Sunday titled “Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-pop Chat Groups,” centering on two Korean female reporters who made major revelations on the case and their findings during their investigative process.

The documentary, followed by written articles in Korean and English, delves into the so-called Burning Sun scandal that started in late 2018 when a man named Kim Sang-gyo claimed he was assaulted by the staff at the Burning Sun club in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

News spread like wildfire and soon included allegations of connections between the police and the club, Seungri’s sex solicitation, YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun-suk and illegal sex videos from K-pop stars, namely Jung.

Seungri was first given a three-year sentence in August 2021 by a military court, which was reduced to a year and a half by the Supreme Court because he “admitted to all his crimes and is regretting his actions,” according to the ruling. Seungri was released from prison in February 2023 and Jung in March this year.

According to the BBC documentary, late singer Koo helped the reporter get a lead on the case by convincing Choi Jong-hoon, one of the inner circles of Jung, to tip her off on the senior police officer who had been “looking out for the gang.”

Koo was born in 1991 in Gwangju and made her debut as a member of girl group Kara on July 24, 2008. She died by suicide in November 2019 at the age of 28.

BY YOON SO-YEON    [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]