The Burning Sun club, located in the upscale Gangnam neighborhood, faces allegations of bribery, violence against customers, securing prostitutes for VIPs, rape, drug trafficking and drug use, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police. Numerous women have come forward with claims of being assaulted or drugged at the club, which the authorities have been investigating for two months.
Burning Sun last month posted a statement on social media saying it was “actively cooperating” with the police. It had also promised to introduce measures to protect customers, including female security officers and extra surveillance cameras. But since then the hotel in which it is located said Burning Sun has opted to end its lease early and close.
The club did not respond to a request for comment.
Last month, 28-year-old Seungri, who also oversaw publicity for Burning Sun, resigned from the club’s board. Neither Seungri or his label, YG Entertainment, responded to CNN’s request for comment, but a statement from the label said that he and its executives were cooperating with police.
According to multiple reports, Seungri apologized on stage at a concert on February 14 and canceled events in Osaka and Jakarta this month. But, in the end, those efforts were not enough to save his career.
“I’m truly grateful for all my fans in Korea and in the world for showing much love for the past 10 years,” he wrote on social media. “I feel that I need to end it here for the reputation of YG and Big Bang.”
K-Pop stars are expected to conform to notoriously high standards of conduct, both from their management and fans. Their labels impose restrictions on who and how publicly they can date, what they wear and how they behave in public.
Big Bang has been at the forefront of the K-Pop industry since its debut in 2006, and was the first Korean group to win the Best Worldwide Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2011. That success put additional pressure on Seungri.
CedarBough Saeji, an expert in Korean culture and society at the University of British Columbia, said that for K-Pop stars: “Their every public moment is a product to be consumed as representative of the nation, representative of ideal behavior, and representative of performative talent.”
Jenna Gibson, a Korea expert at the University of Chicago, said that if the allegations against Seungri and Burning Sun were true, “this level of scandal goes beyond anything we’ve seen in recent memory” in K-pop.
Drug laws are exceptionally strict in South Korea and drug use is also rare. Only about 7,800 arrests were made in 2017, according to the Korean Statistical Information Service, in a country of more than 51 million people.