While FNC Entertainment previously denied the involvement of FT Island‘s Choi Jong Hoon in the Seungri/Jung Joon Young group chat scandal, he’s embroiled in a scandal of his own either way, as he allegedly used connections within the police to cover up a drunk driving incident three years ago, according to a YTN exclusive report.
According to the report, Choi Jong Hoon was caught by a police officer from Seoul Yongsan Police Station for drunk driving in March 2016. While it is still unknown whether he qualified to get his license suspended or revoked, it’s been confirmed that he tested to have a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent at the time of the incident. Afterwards, Choi Jong Hoon reportedly asked the police officer in charge to cover up his mistake so that it wouldn’t be reported through news outlets to the public. Since then, Choi Jong Hoon has allegedly remained close friends with the police officer. The report further stated that Choi Jong Hoon also shared about the incident in the group chatroom that included Jung Joon Young and Seungri. In response, the police announced that they have begun their investigation into the alleged connections between Choi Jong Hoon and high-ranked police officers.
Okay, so not only does this connect Choi Jong Hoon to the now infamous group chats and report that he had a DUI, but more importantly it alleges police corruption.
Soon after, Choi Jong Hoon admitted to drunk driving through a statement, but denies requesting a cover-up.
After checking with him personally, we confirmed that Choi Jong Hoon was caught drunk driving by the police in Itaewon, Seoul in February 2016. He paid a fine of 2.5 million won (approximately $2,200) and got his license suspended for 100 days. At the time, Choi Jong Hoon felt that he was not a well-known member, and in fear, tried to let it pass quietly by not telling the agency. He says he is very regretful and is reflecting on making the faulty judgment on his own. We found after checking with him personally, however, that he did not make requests through the media or police as reported today regarding ties with the police. Choi Jong Hoon will actively cooperate in police investigations to confirm whether or not such ties [with the police] existed. If [suspicions] including the ties [with the police] are found to be true, he will take all corresponding legal responsibility. Choi Jong Hoon feels a deep sense of guilt regarding his past wrongdoings, and he is also deeply reflecting on causing disappointment to many people around him and causing harm to his team. Furthermore, until all investigations are complete, he will completely halt all individual activities and activities as a member of FTISLAND. In addition, the agency feels deep responsibility for the recent series of Choi Jong Hoon’s involvement in unfortunate matters and for not having recognized the situation ahead of time. We promise to put in more effort to manage our artists thoroughly.
FNCE apparently has a policy of denying no matter what even if they’re about to get exposed literal hours later, as once again a report by SBS was released with texts from the group chat that were sent after his drunk driving incident that discuss favors and payment to get people to cover the incident up.
On SBS’s “8 O’Clock News,” text messages were shared that show a discussion in the group chatroom about a payment being made to cover up the incident. According to a recreation of the KakaoTalk messages in the report by SBS, Choi Jong Hoon shared an article on March 7, 2016 about how an idol had been revealed to have been caught drunk driving.
Choi Jong Hoon: Idol group member exposed for drunk driving… (view original article).
Choi Jong Hoon: Thankfully, because of XX hyung’s favor, I was able to survive
Mr. Kim: Jonghoon-ie you had a good experience.
Mr. Kim: It must have been a thrill to try to escape in front of the police. The handcuffs [were on your wrists].”
Jung Joon Young: Jonghoon-ie could have flown right to the front page of the newspaper.
Mr. Heo: It could made the headlines.
Mr. Park: You would be famous.
Choi Jonghoon: Why would I be in articles. This [matter] was handled so quietly
Mr. Kim: Quietly? Do you know how the extent of the effort Mr Yoo made to do this for you
Seungri: Don’t think that the next time you drive drunk will be blocked. XX hyung used his own money to block the mouths [of the police].
It should be noted that I don’t technically think they say it was the police who covered it up, though somebody certainly did for money.
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise that people who were joking about rape would also talk about getting away with crimes being publicized due to corruption so casually, but man it’s honestly remarkable to see.