Burning Sun Scandal: How Two Female Reporters And Late Idol Goo Hara Exposed K-pop’s Biggest Sex Crimes
Burning Sun Scandal: How Two Female Reporters And Late Idol Goo Hara Exposed K-pop’s Biggest Sex Crimes ( Photo Credit – Twitter )

The K-pop genre has taken the world by storm, mesmerizing millions across the globe with its well-crafted music videos, high-energy performances, and, not to be missed, the irresistible charisma of the idols. However, what we see often differs from what it appears to be. Situations are direr than they seem, things are more dangerous than they look, and people are more horrifying and complex than they pretend to be. Such was the case with the Burning Sun scandal, also known as Burning Sun Gate, the dark truth of which was uncovered in 2019.

The tragedy that began way before it was brought to the public’s attention, was an entertainment and sex scandal in South Korea, which involved several celebrities, including K-pop idols of popular groups and police officials. A recent BBC Eye documentary titled ‘Burning Sun: Exposing the Secret K-pop Chat Groups brought one of the most sinister cases in the history of K-pop once again into the limelight. The documentary particularly highlighted the role of two female reporters, who risked everything to uncover the truth, and that of the late K-pop idol Goo Hara.


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The Burning Sun scandal came into the limelight when MBC, a local broadcaster in South Korea, reported an assault case in Gangnam, a posh district in Seoul in January 2019. They revealed that a man named Kim Sang-kyo attended a party at the Burning Sun club in Yeoksam-dong two months prior in November when the club’s staff beat him up. The man informed the staff that he saw a girl slumped over, but the staff, instead of helping, dragged him outside the club and beat him up. Moreover, when he called the police, they handcuffed him instead. This incident snowballed into something more vicious, one that no one could ever imagine.

Park Hyo-sil reported Jung Joon-young’s involvement in secretly filming his girlfriend

Journalist Park Hyo-sil was the first one to report about Jung Joon-young’s involvement in secretly filming sex videos in 2016. He was an immensely popular RJ and singer-songwriter for the former drug restaurant band. Park says that she received a tip-off, which claimed that Joon-young filmed his girlfriend while having sex and even accused him of ‘Molka,’ an illegally filmed footage of women that can be used later to humiliate her. During the investigation, Jung refused to hand over his phone to the police, and instead, he sent it to a private forensics company. While the police questioned the K-pop singer, they did not delve much deeper into the case, rushing to close it back in 2016. Soon, Jung’s agency held a press conference to clear his name.

However, Jung remained oblivious that the data from his phone was carbon-copied when he sent it to the private forensics company. Someone who knew of it decided to leak the information to the media, and SBS’s entertainment reporter Kang Kyung-yoon was one such person who eventually obtained the data. She found out Jung’s group chat with his male friends between 2015 to 2016 on a popular messenger app in South Korea, KakaoTalk.

( Photo Credit – BBC Documentary )

While Kang thought that the data would include Jung’s girlfriend’s Molka, it wasn’t there. However, it opened a Pandora’s box of criminal activities involving Jung and his other celebrity friends, including Choi Jong-hoon, lead guitarist of rock band FT Island, and Seungri, a huge star of the K-pop group BigBang.


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Jung Joon-young, Seungri and Choi Jong-hoon conversed about raping an unconscious woman

The BBC documentary released the conversations of these celebrities in the group chat, revealing some extremely disturbing exchanges, including the one where they gang-raped an unconscious woman. ‘Seungstby’ aka Seungri even used women as a tool to lure investors for his business. The data also revealed that police were also involved in covering up their crimes like drunk driving. The chats exposed someone named ‘Police Prosecutor General’, who provided them with protection.

( Photo Credit – BBC Documentary )
( Photo Credit – BBC Documentary )

Seungri partners with a rich businessman and opens a drinking establishment called Mildang Pocha with his friends Jung and Choi. And just days after the opening, Jung Joon-young filmed Molka on its premises. Moreover, his phone’s data ended in August 2016, shortly before his girlfriend accused him of filming her secretly.

Seungri opens the infamous ‘Burning Sun’ club

In December 2017, Seungri hosted his birthday party on an island in the Philippines to lure in investors for his business endeavours. He took young women from Korea and invited dozens of affluent businessmen to his party. Soon after receiving huge investments, he opened his scandalous club, ‘Burning Sun’, the largest in Gangnam. Former employees of the club spoke to BBC and shared that they were called merchandises (MDs), who would make sure there were girls in the club to cater to the VIPs. The MDs would do all sorts of illegal activities to attract male customers including taking pictures of unconscious women in the club.

Burning Sun’s illegal activities were exposed when an assault video of a man went viral

Soon the illegal activities happening at the club came to the forefront when Kim Sang-kyo’s assault footage surfaced in the media. Meanwhile, other evidence also kept emerging including a shocking case of Molka, filmed inside Burning Sun and known as the Red Bathroom video, which went viral on pornographic sites. After days of this incident, Burning Sun ceased its operations, and Seungri even apologized to his fans at his solo concert. When Kang Kyung-yoon published her expose, Seungri voluntarily appeared at the police station for questioning.

Late K-pop idol Goo Hara convinced her friend Choi Jong-hoon to reveal the name of the police official

The SBS journalist encountered a roadblock in identifying the ‘senior police’ who had helped these men on various occasions. This is when the late K-pop idol Goo Hara came in. She reached out to Kang to help her with anything related to the Burning Sun scandal as she was acquainted with Jung, Choi and Seungri. She convinced Choi Jong-hoon to expose the name of the ‘Police Prosecutor General’. Hara helped Choi to admit it. For those unversed, Hara was a victim of revenge porn herself. Just a year prior to the Burning Sun scandal, her ex-boyfriend threatened her with their non-consensual sexual video. Unfortunately, she reportedly took her life in November 2019.


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A post shared by 구하라 (@koohara__)

Several other victims came forward, accusing the K-pop celebrities of gang rape. While the culprits in the scandal were punished, the two female reporters, Park Hyo-sil and Kang Kyung-yoon bore the brunt of the fans of these K-pop idols. Park was under so much stress that she miscarried twice, leaving her childless to date. Meanwhile, Kang fell prey to misogyny and online trolling.

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