Seoul appeals court upholds two-year prison sentence against ex-BTOB’s Jung Ilhoon

Published November 19, 2021, 10:33 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

A Seoul appeals court upheld the prison sentence imposed against Jung Ilhoon, 27, a former member of K-pop boy band BTOB, who was found guilty of habitual marijuana use last June.

On Nov. 18, the 13th Criminal Division of the Seoul High Court held an appeal trial against Ilhoon.

Former BTOB member Jung Ilhoon (right) entering the courthouse in Seoul on June 10 for his sentencing (Instagram / screenshot from TV Daily video on YouTube)

Last June 10, the Seoul Central District Court found Ilhoon guilty of marijuana use and sentenced him to two years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 133 million (about $117,400).

The court found Ilhoon guilty of violating South Korea’s Narcotics Control Act for marijuana use. He and seven others were charged with buying and smoking 826 grams of marijuana for two and a half years between July 5, 2016 and Jan. 9, 2019.

A total of 130 million won (about $116,420) was spent for the illegal drugs, remitting the money 161 times to a drug dealer. After the sentence was handed down, Ilhoon was taken into custody.

Dissatisfied with the court’s verdict, Ilhoon, through his lawyer, filed an appeal. Prosecutors also appealed the decision as they previously demanded that Ilhoon be jailed for four years.

From the beginning of the appeal hearing to the 18th, the day of the trial, Jung Il-hoon submitted a letter of remorse to the court a total of 88 times and appealed for leniency.

Korean media reported that since filing his appeal, Ilhoon submitted 88 letters of reflection to the court to appeal for leniency. However, the Seoul High Court upheld his prison sentence.

In the June 10 decision, the Seoul Central District Court said “the defendants used sophisticated criminal techniques such as communicating with each other on the dark web to make it difficult to detect crimes, and trading using bitcoin, a virtual currency, as payment.”

The court added that Ilhoon and his accomplice, surnamed Park, “played a leading role and committed the most number of crimes.”

Ilhoon’s seven accomplices were sentenced to one year and six months to two years in prison or one year in prison with three years of probation depending on the number of purchases and inhalation of marijuana.

Last December, Korean channel Channel A reported that Ilhoon was investigated by the police for marijuana use and the drug was detected in his hair.

It said that to avoid detection, Ilhoon used cryptocurrency to buy marijuana. He deposited cash in an account of an acquaintance who converted it to cryptocurrency to buy marijuana.

Ilhoon enlisted in the military on May 28, 2020 and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency sent the drug complaint of Ilhoon and his accomplices to the prosecution in July of the same year.

Ilhoon debuted in BTOB in 2012 and last Dec. 31, he left BTOB because of the scandal.

“Jung Ilhoon is deeply reflecting on his actions of breaking the trust of many fans and causing them to feel disappointment. Respecting his personal opinion to no longer cause harm to the group, it was decided that Jung Ilhoon will withdraw from the group as of today,” said Cube Entertainment, SBS News reported.

Based on the appeal procedure published by the Seoul High Court, “Not only the accused but also the public prosecutor can bring an appeal against the judgment rendered by the trial court within seven days from the date the judgment is rendered. There is little difference between the appeal and trial proceedings. In case an appeal has been lodged by the accused, the punishment cannot be severer than the original judgment. Appeals against the judgment of court of appeals may be filed with the Supreme Court within seven days from the date the judgment is rendered. Appeal to the Supreme Court must contain one or more of the grounds specifically prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Act.”