[Update] Seungri booked & named a suspect on suspicion of violating anti-prostitution law + Prime Minister comments on case

Following news that text conversations involving Seungri allegedly showing him being involved in procuring prostitutes for investors were being sent above the police to the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (ACCRC), the police have raided the club Arena looking for evidence related to that accusation and then subsequently booked Seungri on suspicion of violating anti-prostitution law (among other things).

On March 10 at 11 a.m. KST, approximately 20 police officers from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency began to search Club Arena for evidence. No further information on the process has been released yet.

A source from the police stated, “We booked Seungri and changed his status to that of a suspect in order to issue a search and seizure warrant and clear [Seungri] of the suspicions [surrounding him].” The police has also booked three to four other people who were in the KakaoTalk group chat and are currently investigating them. Meanwhile, the police began searching Club Arena at 11 a.m. on March 10 and ended their search at 2 p.m. KST. It was reported that they obtained data related to the charges made on Seungri about providing sexual escort services to foreign investors, but no further details have been revealed.

It’s rather weird that police would say they’re trying to ‘clear’ a suspect of suspicions as they are naming him a suspect and booking him. Though that could be a matter of translation (though other sources have translated it the same), as after checking the source, it reads to me more like ‘resolve’. It’s an important distinction, because regardless of how police feel about the case, it would not be the best look while they are under fire for being corrupt. Police are also looking into other allegations, which I assume are connected to the previously reported tax evasion allegations.

We’ll have to wait for more going forward, but it seems impossible to spin this development. Seungri was already in shit because he invested and promoted a club facing major criminal and ethical issues, and it’s hard to see this development as anything but a deepening of the mess for Seungri and those connected to any of this.

Update

After reading a report about the news from another source, I now believe the aforementioned ‘clear’ part of the police statement was simply a mistranslation.

“To secure a warrant for the raid aimed at addressing suspicions, we have booked Seungri as a suspect,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

This only makes sense, honestly.

It also seems relevant to note that this is no longer even in the hands of local police and instead the Special Crime Squad of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency is taking the reins.

As we know, the texts in question were sent to the ACCRC, which answers to the Prime Minister, who actually commented on the controversy recently, “An assault case in a club in Gangnam is now uncovering allegations of drug distribution, sexual assault, and corruption between the police and its owners. I wish that the police take this as an insult to its own honor, and that they go through a thorough investigation to the full extent of the law. I hope that the investigators will keep in mind what will happen if the suspicions of illegal activities do not fully get resolved as they carry on the investigations.

So basically he’s speaking out on this primarily due to the suspicions of police corruption, and made a statement in the National Assembly to put further public pressure on the issue. The main focus for the people in power will likely fall primarily on this aspect of the scandal, but the fact that this case was deemed relevant enough for the Prime Minister to issue a statement on it should tell you everything about how relevant and serious this is getting.

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