Yes, you read that correctly. These 7 Korean celebrities have committed horrendous sex crimes and been found guilty for them. Some have been incarcerated, some have “retired” from the entertainment industry entirely, and some have “paid their dues” and returned to pursuing their careers. Regardless, as registered sex offenders, they are banned from appearing on most, if not all, Korean television channels. ICYMI: Here are the names, the sins, and the whereabouts on these criminals.
1. Actor Song Young Chang
In September of 2000, veteran actor Song Young Chang was found guilty of underage prostitution. He was revealed to have paid $150 in exchange of sex with a 16-year-old teen, twice in his vehicle. He was sentenced to suspended 10 months of incarceration with two years probation — though he actually served a month in prison before being released to observe his probation period. After his release, he moved to Canada with his family to “study English“. He did appear in a few theater works upon his return to Korea. Song Young Chang is the first to have been found guilty of underage prostitution in the Korean entertainment industry. He is banned from KBS, EBS, and MBC channels.
2. Actor Lee Kyung Young
In 2002, veteran actor Lee Kyung Young was found guilty of underage prostitution as well. He was revealed to have manipulated and exploited an underaged aspiring actress into having sex with him on three different occasions — in potential exchange of securing a role in one of his future movies. He was sentenced to a suspended 10 months of prison with two years of probation, in addition to 160 hours of community service. He was initially banned from all channels, until MBC dropped the ban in 2014 and SBS in 2019. Though he is still banned from KBS and EBS channels, he continues to actively take on roles in K-Dramas and K-Movies.
3. Singer Go Young Wook
In 2013, former Roo’Ra member Go Young Wook was found guilty of sexually harassing and assaulting three minors — 14 and 19 in ages — on five different occasions. He was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. He served his time until he was released on July 10, 2015. Post-release, he also had to wear a GPS monitor on his ankle until July 9, 2018. Since then, his neighbors have reportedly seen him leave the house, though rare. As the first Korean male celebrity to have been sentenced to wear an ankle monitor in the industry, Go Young Wook remains banned from all Korean television channels.
4. Actor Um Tae Woong
In August of 2016, actor Um Tae Woong was sued for sexually assaulting a female employee in a massage parlor in January of the same year. He was found innocent of the sexual assault. However, he was found guilty of prostitution when the court ruled that the said massage parlor is an illegal facility. He was sentenced to a $1,000 fine. After this charge, Um Tae Woong appeared in an independent movie made 2017. With that being largely unsuccessful, he is thought to have retired from the industry completely. He remains banned from KBS, EBS, and MBC channels.
5. Singer Jung Joon Young
In March of 2019, singer Jung Joon Young was revealed to have been sexually assaulting women, illegally filming the assault and sharing these pornographic videos in a group chatroom without the women’s consent. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment — though in May 2020, his sentence was appealed to be reduced to five years. Jung Joon Young is banned from all television channels. And, as most Koreans believe, it is unlikely that he will be able to make a return to the industry after serving his time.
6. Singer Choi Jong Hoon
In 2019, former F.T. Island member Choi Jong Hoon was also revealed to have been a part of the said group chatroom in which Jung Joon Young shared his videos. Choi Jong Hoon was found guilty of sexual assault, illegal production and distribution of pornographic videos as well. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but he appealed for a reduction. In May 2020, the appeals court has reduced his sentence to two years and six months of incarceration. Choi Jong Hoon is, like Jung Joon Young, banned from all television channels and not expected to be capable of coming back to the K-Pop scene.
7. Actor Kang Ji Hwan
In July of 2019, actor Kang Ji Hwan was arrested at his home for attempted sexual assault of two women. He was revealed to have gotten two of his female staff members drunk, then to have sexually harassed and assaulted them thereafter. He was sentenced to a suspended two years and six months in prison, with three years of probation. Though he is currently on probation and not technically imprisoned, Koreans doubt his career will survive this charge. Kang Ji Hwan is now banned from all television channels.