Dispatch reveals Wonho’s juvie past, reports he used weed with Jung Da Eun + thoughts on rehabilitation

Despite Wonho already leaving Monsta X, Dispatch has now reported that he smoked marijuana with Jung Da Eun back in October of 2013. A former Burning Sun director and MD named Cho, who has ties to Jung Da Eun and is currently in Seoul Detention Center, caught them at the time and is now involved as well. The sources for Dispatch’s story were Jung Da Eun and Cho themselves, with the full story here.

Anyway, their contention is that Wonho initiated the drug session, offering weed to Jung Da Eun. Two different drug investigation teams from the police looked into this and the first one found their accusations credible, with both of their statements about Wonho matching. The other investigation team talked to Wonho’s friends from 2008 when he was a juvenile delinquent due to committing special larceny with a group.

During its investigations, Dispatch uncovered another past event from Wonho. In 2008, he committed special larceny (theft). The leader of the theft was sent to a juvenile detention center, while Wonho was given probation. It is a measure for juvenile delinquents based on juvenile law 4 or 5. Instead of restricting their freedom by sending them to a detention center, they are to lead a normal school life. This is to correct the criminal mentality and prevent recidivism through the guidance and supervision of probation officers.

The report also talked about the accusations of Wonho selling Jung Da Eun’s things, citing one acquaintance of the two that vouched for her claims. Apparently police are currently investigating the drug case and the statute of limitations expires within a year.

In reaction to this, Starship Entertainment confirmed an inspection at the airport took place but were unaware of the drug investigation, and as a result they have terminated Wonho’s contract.

Regarding the report released on [November] 1, Wonho did get his luggage and body examined at the airport after returning from the concert in Germany in September 2019, but it was a simple process, and we were informed that it is part of the customs inspection. We were not notified separately of an investigation, and we were not aware at all of Wonho being under investigation, of the suspicions of marijuana use in 2013, and that an investigation is undergoing. In relation with this case, the judgment has been made that we can no longer maintain our contract with Wonho and terminated our contract with Wonho as of November 1, 2019.

Well that was sudden.

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The Dispatch report certainly helps shine a bit more light on why Wonho may have withdrawn from the group or been kicked out by Starship. Given the expectations put on celebrities and idols, it’s not a surprise that the combination of the #MeToo joke controversy, allegedly owing debt (another trending issue in Korea with #DebtToo), the special larceny case as a kid, and current drug investigations would eventually lead to this. It’s a lot to take in all at once.

That said, it’s worth talking about that expectation of keeping a polished image and why Jung Da Eun and Han Seo Hee are able to do this while being terrible and messy themselves.

It’s obvious that what they’re doing is completely in bad faith, and thinking about why the celebrity culture in Korea allows their plan to work so well is worth it, IMO.

On that note, I don’t necessarily blame anybody if they no longer wish to support Wonho, as everybody has their own personal sense of morality. There’s a limit for every individual and everybody is free to draw the line wherever they want. However, I do feel that it’s worth looking into the reasons people have to continue supporting him, because as of now there appears to be a solid case for it.

Wonho’s #MeToo joke controversy is current, but his acknowledgment of wrongdoing and apology read as genuine, and the rest of issues are primarily from his past. The main thing that bothers me at the moment is that if he does owe Jung Da Eun debt, then he should resolve it, but that’s anything but clear at the moment and it’s also something from his earlier days that one should have the ability to make right in the end. As far as the weed issue goes, well it unsurprisingly wouldn’t bother me at any point, much less years ago.

That brings me to the core of this mess, which is his criminal past as a juvenile. In a way, this Dispatch report was relieving to me rather than damning. The thing that caused me pause in talking about this earlier was what exactly his juvie past was about, as the alleged special larceny could hypothetically involve stuff like violence (not that issues like that shouldn’t also be rehabilitated, but it might understandably give people more pause in supporting him).

Right, so what made it relieving is that the special larceny was about participating in theft as a group, and also that he wasn’t the ringleader.

To be clear, I’m not saying the things he did were acceptable nor am I trying to minimize the responsibility he should take for his actions, but I am saying things like an impoverished teen turning to stealing is not something that should be impossible to forgive.

Hell it’s even understandable as long as he’s legitimately remorseful and has paid his dues to society, which it seems like he has. I guess it has just struck me as gross that so many people, especially those who think of themselves as progressive, don’t see a way back for a poor kid who resorted to theft. Stories of people with these types of past getting their shit together and turning it around is what should be encouraged, and would be in a place like America, not used to destroy them.

Of course, even as I write this, I’m cautious because I’m aware more can be revealed about Wonho that we may not know about that could change opinions. So for me, the emphasis shouldn’t be on his case specifically so much as a discussion about how this has revealed privileged attitudes about teen crimes of this nature and their rehabilitation. I’m not innocent of holding said attitudes in the past (because I am a spoiled piece of shit), but at some point I think it behooves people to investigate the core of these issues, and hopefully they’ll come out the other side with a bit more empathy and understanding.

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