K-pop girl group Brown Eyed Girls member Son Ga-in was found guilty of illegally using propofol, classified as a narcotic and psychotropic drug in Korea.
The Suwon District Court issued a summary order and imposed a fine of 1 million won ($885) on Ga-in, 33, after she was summarily indicted on charges of violating Korea’s Narcotics Control Act earlier this year, according to an exclusive report by Korean news outlet The Fact.
With a summary order, Ga-in’s case did not go to trial. According to Korea’s Ministry of Justice website, “a summary order is issued to the effect that the defendant is sentenced to a fine or penalty, or to forfeit.”
Ga-in was found guilty of administering propofol, a sleep anesthetic, in a place in Gyeonggi Province in South Korea between July and August 2019. Propofol is used for anesthesia in surgeries.
Her crime became known after a plastic surgeon in his 70s was indicted on charges of violating the Narcotics Control Act and Medical Act. The Suwon District Court sentenced the doctor to one year and six months in prison and imposed a fine of 3 million ($2,655).
In June 2020, the doctor sold three boxes of Etomidate injection, an anesthetic drug, to Ga-in at a plastic surgery clinic in Seoul, which he runs, for 1.5 million won ($1,326).
He was also accused of injecting propofol to four people including Ga-in for about a year from August 2019.
Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety issued standards to prevent misuse and abuse of propofol.
Last September, the ministry issued a notice, stating that propofol is a “psychotropic drug used to induce and maintain the general anesthetic state.”
“Medical professionals must properly adjust propofol dose based on the patient’s weight, always bearing in mind that propofol has a high risk of misuse and abuse. Propofol should not be administered independently without reasons related to surgery, surgical procedures, or medical examinations,” the ministry said.
It also “advised that the number of propofol injection for simple surgical procedures does not exceed once every month and that medical professionals check on the patient’s propofol usage history before prescribing.” Use of propofol in Korea must be reported to authorities.
Propofol intoxication was identified as the cause of death of the King of Pop Michael Jackson in 2009.
In Korea, celebrities were found guilty of propofol misuse and abuse. In March, a court convicted singer-songwriter Wheesung, 39, of abusing propofol and sentenced him to one year in prison suspended for two years.
In May, prosecutors sought a fine of 10 million won ($8,850) against actor Ha Jung-woo for getting 10 injections of propofol at a clinic in Gangnam, Seoul from January to September 2019. He apologized for his actions.
In November 2013, actresses Park Si-yeon, Lee Seung Yeon and Jang Mi-inae were convicted for illegal use of propofol.