The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Rock band FT Island's Choi Jong-hoon (left) and boyband Highlight's Junhyung (right) have quit showbiz in the latest fallout from a seemingly ever-widening K-pop scandal. (One Production/Marcus Lin, Instagram/Bigbadboii via The Straits Times/File)
Two more artists - rock band FT Island's Choi Jong-hoon and boyband Highlight's Junhyung - have quit showbiz in the latest fallout from a seemingly ever-widening K-pop scandal.
The storm first blew up in January when a club-goer said he was assaulted in a club linked to BigBang singer Seungri.
Another singer, Jung Joon-young, found himself in the hot seat after he reportedly shared sex videos in a chatroom with artists, including Seungri and Choi.
The public backlash saw Jung, 30, withdrawing from showbiz on March 13, two days after Seungri, 28, himself had made a similar decision - to protect the reputation of boyband BigBang.
On March 14, as the adverse publicity intensified, and pressure mounted from fans for the artists implicated to do the right thing, Junhyung's label said the 29-year-old was retiring too.
Hours later, Choi's management, insisting that it had no intention to hide or cover up the truth, announced that he was bowing out.
According to Korean media sources, there is also speculation that Choi, 29, might have bribed the police to not reveal his drink-driving in 2016.
Local broadcaster SBS reported that Choi, Jung, Seungri and others were involved in a discussion over how to keep the drink-driving under wraps, including bribery.
In Junhyung's case, the writing was on the wall for his career after he admitted that he had viewed footage shared by Jung after they met in 2015, and exchanged lewd text messages regarding the sex videos.
Junhyung was questioned by the police on Wednesday, as part of a probe into Jung's activities, reported portal allkpop.
Yesterday, a statement from Junhyung's label stated that he was aware that the incident "is not one that can be forgiven, and that he feels greatly apologetic towards fans of Highlight for breaking their trust and repaying their love with disappointment".
Even as the spotlight fell on Choi and Junhyung yesterday, there was no respite for Jung and Seungri when they turned up separately for police interviews.
"I am sorry. I apologize for causing trouble to all the citizens of the nation," a subdued-looking Jung told a large crowd of reporters.
Seungri, who had already been questioned by the police for more than eight hours on Feb 27, said: "I once again bow my head in apology to all citizens of the nation and the people who have received harm because of me."
Certainly, netizens have not stopped speculating over who else could be hauled up next for their inappropriate behavior.
In a bid to nip such talk, management agencies of other K-pop acts have issued statements, threatening to take legal action against those who spread rumors.