Ex-Big Bang Seungri’s sentence reduced by half; may walk out of prison next year

Published January 28, 2022, 5:17 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Former K-pop boy band Big Bang member Seungri scored victory when a military court commuted his sentence to one year and six months from three years following his conviction in August last year on nine charges including prostitution mediation.

On Jan. 27, the High Military Court of the Ministry of National Defense held a hearing on the appeal on Seungri’s conviction.

Korean media reported that during the hearing, Seungri admitted to all the charges and expressed his intention to reflect. The High Military Court appeared to have taken this into account and reduced his sentence to one year and six months, they added.

If Seungri and military prosecutors do not file appeals regarding the latest decision and if the judgment is finalized, he will be released from prison next year after serving his remaining sentence of one year and one month, the media added.

Reports stated that if any appeal is filed, Korea’s Supreme Court will decide on the case. Seungri is currently serving his sentence at the Military Correctional Institution.

On Aug. 12 last year, the General Military Court found Seungri guilty and sentenced him to three years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 1.15 billion won (about $950,000). He was immediately taken into custody.

Seungri was tried by a military court after he enlisted in the military in March 2020.

After he was convicted last August, Seungri filed his appeal. Prosecutors also filed their appeal to reverse the sentence. They previously asked the court to sentence Seungri to five years in prison but imposed three years.

He was convicted by the military court for the following charges: prostitution mediation in violation of Act on the Punishment of Arrangement of Commercial Sex Acts Etc., embezzlement, overseas gambling, procuring prostitution service, violation of Foreign Exchange Transactions Act, violation of Food Sanitation Act, violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning The Punishment, Etc. of Sexual Crimes, violation of an Act on the Aggravated Punishment Etc. of Specific Economic Crimes and mobilizing gang to threaten people.

His conviction stemmed from the Burning Club scandal in early 2019. On March 11, 2019, Seungri announced his retirement from the entertainment industry due to the scandal.

“I have decided to retire from the entertainment industry as the issues that caused social controversy are so great,” he said then.