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G-Dragon denies drug use allegations

INCHEON, South Korea (AFP) K-pop star G-Dragon, of wildly successful but problem-plagued band BIGBANG, denied any wrongdoing as he appeared for police questioning Monday over alleged drug use.

South Korea has extremely tough legislation on illegal drugs, and even Koreans who take drugs like marijuana legally overseas risk prosecution upon returning to their home country.

G-Dragon, whose real name is Kwon Ji-yong, arrived at the Incheon Nonhyeon police station in a black sedan, dressed in a dark suit and wearing black-rimmed glasses.

K-pop star G-Dragon (R) arrives at a police station for his police questioning in Incheon on November 6, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

“I have not committed drug-related crimes and I’m actually here to reveal that,” the 35-year-old told reporters outside.

This year, President Yoon Suk Yeol called for more stringent measures to eliminate drug traffickers, saying the country was no longer “drug-free”.

Leaving the police station after the questioning that lasted for nearly four hours, the artist said that he had tested negative for drugs, adding that he had put in an urgent request for a more detailed test.

“I think it would be good if the investigative agency would quickly and accurately state the results,” he told reporters.

“I actively cooperated with the investigation, whether it was testifying or submitting hair,” he said, adding: “I answered truthfully.”

K-pop star G-Dragon (C) speaks to the media as he arrives at a police station for his police questioning in Incheon on November 6, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

G-Dragon is the latest in a string of South Korean entertainers to be probed for alleged drug use.

Police have launched an investigation into “Parasite” actor Lee Sun-kyun, who stands accused of using marijuana and other psychoactive drugs.

Lee was previously celebrated for his wholesome image, but local news outlets have reported that he is being dropped from television and commercial projects.

Last month, another high-profile actor, Yoo Ah-in, was indicted for alleged drug use.

G-Dragon’s group BIGBANG is one of South Korea’s most successful boy bands, having sold at least 140 million records worldwide since its debut in 2006.

But its members have often been in the limelight for misconduct.

Group member Seungri retired from show business in 2019 amid mounting criminal investigations, and was later sentenced to 18 months in prison for offering women to potential investors for sexual services, among other charges.

Rapper T.O.P, who in May revealed he had “withdrawn” from BIGBANG, received a suspended jail sentence in 2017 for using marijuana.

G-Dragon himself was investigated for marijuana use in 2011, but he was released without indictment.