Entertainment

K-pop star, 4 others arrested as South Korea sex video scandal widens

South Korean police have arrested K-pop singer Jung Joon-young over allegations he illegally shared sexually explicit videos of women taken without their knowledge or consent.

Jung Joon-young arrested Thursday, another K-pop star, Seungri, being investigated

K-pop singer Jung Joon-young arrives for a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul on Thursday, accused of illegally sharing sexually explicit videos of women taken without their knowledge or consent in online group chats. (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press)

South Korean police on Thursday arrested K-pop singer Jung Joon-young over allegations he illegally shared sexually explicit videos of women taken without their knowledge or consent.

The Seoul Central District Court issued an arrest warrant for Jung hours after he appeared at a hearing, and apologized to the victims and to "everyone who has showed affection for me." The 30-year-old was later escorted to a police station in downtown Seoul in handcuffs.

People involved in scandals in South Korea often issue public apologies even as they maintain their innocence.

Jung was first questioned by police last week about allegations he secretly filmed his sexual encounters and shared them in private group chats with his friends.

Police are also investigating another Seungri (Lee Seung-hyun), who soared to international stardom as a member of the group Big Bang, over suspicions he attempted to arrange unlawful sexual services for his business investors.

Some of the biggest stars in K-pop have become embroiled in a sex scandal, including allegations of prostitution and filming sex acts without consent. One journalist says it's a practice that's gone on for years. 21:23

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency requested an arrest warrant for Jung on Monday through state prosecutors. The scandal has caused an uproar in South Korea, where women are increasingly speaking out against what they describe as a culture of misogyny with the rampant spread of intimate photos and videos taken by hidden cameras, which they say have women living in anxiety and distress.

4 arrested for hotel spy cams

Separately, South Korean police announced the arrests of four people Thursday on suspicion of secretly taking videos of about 1,600 guests in hotel rooms and posting or streaming them on the internet.

The Korean National Police Agency said mini-spy cameras were set up in TV set-top boxes, hairdryer cradles or electrical outlets in 42 rooms in 30 hotels in central and southeastern South Korea.

A police statement accused the men of earning about 7 million won ($8,276 Cdn) in total by posting or livestreaming the video on an overseas-based internet site between last November and early March.

If convicted, the two main suspects could face up to seven years in prison, according to police.

One of the suspects allegedly installed the cameras after entering the hotels as a guest. The other was accused of launching and managing the now-shuttered website. The other two were allegedly involved in buying the spy cameras or funding the internet site's operation, according to police.