Scandal-ridden K-pop star enlists in army

Seoul (AFP) –


Disgraced former K-pop star Seungri enlisted in the South Korean army Monday, meaning a military court will now hear his trial on charges stemming from a sex and drug scandal last year.

The 29-year-old singer from popular boyband BIGBANG has been indicted on accusations including prostitution arrangement, embezzlement and illicit gambling.

All able-bodied South Korean men are obliged to fulfil around two years of military service to defend the country from nuclear-armed North Korea, with which it remains technically at war.

Wearing a black hooded shirt and matching facemask, Seungri arrived at a military boot camp in Cheorwon, a border town 100 kilometres north of Seoul.

Seungri -- whose military service was postponed last year because of ongoing police inquiries -- bowed to reporters but did not answer questions before checking in, Yonhap news agency reported.

BIGBANG enjoyed widespread fame following its 2006 debut and Seungri went on to become a successful businessman, but the public backlash and formal investigations caused him to retire from showbusiness in 2019.

Seungri, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, is accused of habitual overseas gambling at luxurious casinos in Las Vegas involving illicit foreign exchange transactions.

He is also suspected of arranging sex services for potential investors in his business.

The investigation into the scandal surrounding him uncovered a spate of allegations against other musicians and personnel at YG Entertainment -- Seungri's former agency and one of the biggest K-pop management firms.

It prompted the agency CEO Yang Hyun-suk to step down in June facing probes of his own into illicit gambling.