Ex-K-pop idol Choi Jong-hoon released from prison after finishing sentence for gang rape

Published November 9, 2021, 11:42 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Choi Jong-hoon, 31, former leader of K-pop band FT Island, was released from prison on Nov. 8 after serving two and a half years in prison for gang rape.

On May 9, 2019, Choi Jong-hoon was arrested on charges of gang rape and illegal filming of women along with Jung Joon-young, former mainstay of the Korean TV show “2 Days & 1 Night” and three others.

Former FT Island member Choi Jong-hoon (left) was released from prison while Jung Joon-young will finish his sentence in October 2025 (Instagram, Jonathan Hicap)

They were accused of gang raping women in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province in January 2016 and in Daegu in March 2016.

On Nov. 29, 2019, the Seoul Central District Court found them guilty of violating Korea’s Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, Etc. of Sexual Crimes and sentenced Choi Jong-hoon to five years and Jung Joon-young to six years in prison.

The Seoul court also convicted Jung Joon Young for distributing illegally filmed sex videos on KakaoTalk chat rooms in 2015.

Under Article 299 on Quasi-Rape, Quasi-Indecent Act by Compulsion of Korea’s Criminal Act, “A person who has sexual intercourse with another or commits an indecent act on another by taking advantage of the other’s condition of unconsciousness or inability to resist shall be punished in accordance with Article 297, 297-2, or 298.”

After their conviction, Choi Jong-hoon and Jung Joon-young filed appeals in December 2019 to overturn their sentences.

On May 12, 2020, the Seoul High Court reduced Choi Jong-hoon’s sentence from five to two and a half years after submitting to the court an agreement with the victim. Jung Joon-young’s sentence was reduced from six to five years.

After his release from prison, Choi Jong-hoon must participate for 80 hours in a program for the treatment of sexual violence and is barred from being employed in institutions related to children and youth, and welfare facilities for the disabled.

Jung Joon-young will be released from prison on Oct. 1, 2025.

Choi Jong-hoon debuted in FT Island in 2007 and left the band in March 2019 due to the scandal. He also retired from the entertainment industry.