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Shinhwa’s Shin Hye-sung tries to set stolen car story straight

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Shin Hye-sung of boy band Shinhwa [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Shin Hye-sung of boy band Shinhwa [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Singer Shin Hye-sung of boy band Shinhwa, who made headlines on Tuesday after being arrested for refusing to comply with a breathalyzer test when he was found in a stolen vehicle, has issued a statement through his law firm Best Way.

According to the statement released Wednesday, Shin had dinner with his friends at around 6 p.m. in Gangnam District, southern Seoul on Oct. 10.

“Shin used a valet parking service at the restaurant. For customers who stay at the restaurant after the valet service attendant’s working hours, the attendant receives the service fee in advance and leaves the key inside the car,” the statement reads. “Shin, who was heavily intoxicated, thought his car key was inside his bag, opened the door of the car [that he drove off in], mistaking it as his own. The door was unlocked, but Shin thought it open because he had the key and had no reason to doubt that it wasn’t his.”

The law firm claimed Shin’s friend called a chauffeur service and that Shin was sitting in the passenger seat when the car departed the restaurant just after midnight. However, after dropping his friend off, the driver also left and this was when Shin got behind the wheel.

“He then fell asleep in the middle of the street when the car was stopped at a light,” the statement said. “The police found him following a report and he was arrested after refusing to take a breathalyzer test.”

The law firm’s statement contradicts an initial statement from Shin’s agency Liveworks Company Tuesday. It claimed a valet parking attendant had given Shin the wrong key and that Shin was too drunk to realize. However, news channel YTN later interviewed the parking attendant who said he wasn’t even working at the time.

“We were in a rush to release a statement and Shin was in police custody while all of his friends who were with him at the restaurant could not recall what had happened so we couldn’t properly check the facts before releasing the statement,” the agency said. “We apologize for creating such misunderstanding.”

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr]