B.I’s Drug Scandal: Here’s Everything We Know So Far
Kim Hanbin, better known by his stage name B.I, is the former leader of iKON, a boy group produced by YG Entertainment. B.I left iKON following an exclusive report by Dispatch, which states that he was suspected of drug crimes in 2016. The following is a recap of everything that has happened since the news broke.
iKON’s B.I is Suspected of Purchasing LSD and Marijuana
In an exclusive report, Dispatch revealed that B.I was suspected of attempting to purchase LSD and marijuana, back in August 2016.
The Kakaotalk chat logs included in Dispatch’s report surfaced in August 2016, after a Miss “A” was arrested for violating the Drug Control Act. The police seized a cell phone from her home, and obtained chat logs in which she and B.I began discussing drugs in April 2016. In one chat log, B.I inquired about LSD, asked “A” about buying 10 doses at a time, and requested a large purchase discount. He also asked about using LSD and marijuana together.
In later reports, acquaintance “A” was revealed to be former YG Entertainment trainee Han Seo Hee. In 2017, Han Seo Hee was placed on probation for 4 years for smoking marijuana with BIGBANG‘s T.O.P. Initially, police neither confirmed nor denied Han Seo Hee’s identity, but Han Seo Hee has since admitted to her involvement in B.I’s scandal.
When she was arrested on August 22, 2016, Han Heo See told police that, on May 3, 2016, she had delivered 10 doses of LSD to a location near B.I’s accommodations at his request. Following these events, a drug dealer known as ”C” was also arrested. The police discovered B.I’s name among those who purchased drugs from “C”. After obtaining “C’s” confession, police arrested Han Heo See and confiscated her cell phone, confirming B.I’s name.
Even with this confirmation, police did not summon B.I for investigation because Han Heo See reversed her statement on August 30, 2016, stating that B.I did ask for LSD, but he did not actually purchase it. When asked where B.I obtained marijuana and smoked it, Han Heo See said she didn’t know.
The Yongin Police Department determined that the circumstantial evidence was not enough to summon B.I for investigations, but a former drug investigator found fault with the police’s decision.
Mr. A detailed the methods of delivery and other things in his first statement. Also, Kim Han Bin (B.I) stated that he did it with Mr. A. I have to question this case. Why did they not investigate just because the suspect changed his statement?
— Former drug investigator
YG Entertainment was contacted regarding this case on June 10 and they denied B.I’s involvement with drug usage.
YG Entertainment is strictly managing drug usage for all artists. B.I is not connected to the 2016 drug case.
YG purchases a simple drug test kit every 2 months from the United States and tests our artists. iKON members all received a drug test prior to their promotions. Including B.I, none of the members showed any signs of drugs at that time.
— YG Entertainment
B.I Admits To Wanting to Use Drugs, Withdraws from iKON
On June 12, B.I left a message on his Instagram, apologizing for his inappropriate actions and explaining why he was tempted to purchase drugs in 2016. He also announced his departure from iKON.
This is Kim Hanbin.
First of all, I sincerely apologize for causing trouble with my inappropriate behavior.
It is true that I had previously wanted to rely on things that I should not have even had interest in because I was having such a difficult and rough time. But I was not even able to do it because I was afraid.
Nevertheless, I am extremely embarassed and sorry towards all of our fans and our members, who are deeply disappointed and hurt by my wrong words and actions.
I will humbly reflect upon my wrongdoings and withdraw from the team.
I sincerely bow my head in apology once again to our fans and our members. I’m sorry.
Due to his scandal, variety shows that B.I guested on announced that he would be edited out of the final footage. JTBC2 removed B.I from Grand Buda-Guest and SBS removed him from Law of the Jungle in Lost Jungle.
It is confirmed that we will edit out B.I as much as possible. Even though other cast members may be affected, we plan to carefully edit the footage.
Presently, B.I is not being investigated by police. Following news of B.I’s attempted drug purchase, an experienced attorney, who deals with drug cases, told Section TV that it would be difficult to punish B.I for simply attempting to purchase drugs.
YG Entertainment Experiences Fallout: Plummeting Stocks, Investigations, and More
Following B.I’s apology letter, YG Entertainment released an official statement, stating that they had terminated B.I’s exclusive contract with the company. They have also removed B.I from the official YG Entertainment website and iKON’s lineup. Since then, the company has lost profits, received criticism, and may soon become subject to new investigations.
Earlier this year, YG Entertainment’s stocks took a catastrophic hit due to the fallout from Seungri‘s Burning Sun scandal. The company’s stock prices dropped again following news of B.I’s suspected drug crimes. At the time of this report, YG Entertainment’s stock shares were trading at 31,950 KRW, a 4.05% (-1,350 KRW) drop compared to the previous close.
Yang Hyun Suk is Suspected of Forcing Han Seo Hee to Change Her Statement
On June 12, KBS released an exclusive report detailed how YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun Suk allegedly coerced Han Seo Hee to change her statement about B.I‘s attempted drug purchase. The day after Han Seo Hee was investigated in 2016, she received a phone call from YG Entertainment and met with Yang Hyun Suk in his office, where Yang Hyun Suk urged her to change her statement about B.I. Yang Hyun Suk also reportedly hired a legal counsel for Han Seo Hee.
Afterward, Han Seo Hee visited the police station with her new lawyer and reversed her statement, stating that she never gave B.I drugs. Police officer “Choi”, who was investigating this case, stated that he felt both the lawyer and Han Seo Hee were acting strangely during the investigations. He said the lawyer was “too protective” and Han Seo Hee seemed “intimidated”.
Following KBS’s report, YG Entertainment stated that they met with Han Seo Hee to verify the authenticity of the drug case with B.I, but they never forced her to change her statement and did not provide her a legal counsel.
Dispatch reported two different sides of the same story. Yang Hyun Suk said that when he and Han Seo Hee had their meeting on August 23, 2016 (the day after her arrest), he told her that B.I had never tested positive for drugs and that she could be sued for libel if she didn’t change her statement. Han Seo Hee recounted the meeting differently, claiming that Yang Hyun Suk took her phone and threatened to ruin her career if she did not change her statement.
MBC‘s Newsdesk also released a report about Han Seo Hee’s changed statement. During her phone interview with MBC, Han Seo Hee claimed that if she continues to talk about B.I, she will “get in trouble with Yang Hyun Suk”, and she avoided sharing further details. She briefly commented on the news coverage of YG Entertainment’s involvement in the drug scandal and investigations, stating that the articles are true.
Han Seo Hee Clarifies Her Involvement
On June 14, the day after MBC released their report, Han Seo Hee posted a statement on Instagram. She asked netizens to refrain from making her the focus of B.I’s drug incident. She stated that she was not a drug seller, but a drug deliverer, having purchased drugs from “C” then delivered those drugs to B.I at the same price. She did not profit. She also claims that she tried to stop B.I from buying drugs.
In addition, I don’t know if it matters that I say this now but I tried to stop Kim Hanbin until the end… to not do it.
— Han Seo Hee
Han Seo Hee has promised to fully cooperated with police if a re-investigation of the drug delivery takes place, but she says she is worried about how “Yang Hyun Suk directly intervened in the case and threatened (her) and police collusion”.
WINNER’s Seunghoon’s Involvement in B.I’s Scandal
Dispatch revealed that WINNER’s Lee Seunghoon allegedly played a role in B.I’s drug suspicions case and is connected to Han Seo Hee. Lee Seunghoon is involved in this scandal because of the Kakaotalk messages he sent to Han Seo Hee on June 1, 2016 in a secret chat room. These messages were confiscated by police when Han Seo Hee was arrested on August 22, 2016, the day she told police about B.I’s attempted purchase.
On June 1, Seunghoon asked Han Seo Hee if she had recently met with B.I, and told her to call him at his new phone number. According to Han Seo Hee, Lee Seunghoon’s tone of voice was very urgent. He told her that B.I tested positive for drugs in YG Entertainment’s internal drug test.
B.I got caught in the drug test. He said he was smoking (marijuana) with me. I said we should meet up as soon as possible. I went to a location near the YG Entertainment office…
— Han Seo Hee
When Han Seo Hee drove to the location to meet Lee Seunghoon, she was greeted instead by YG Entertainment employee “K”, who turned off the black box and confiscated her phone. He told her that he was meeting her in place of Lee Seunghoon and told her that any drug-related talk about B.I was “secret”.
I am taking the place of Lee Seunghoon. This is a secret related to B.I. If anything happens, make sure to let me know.
Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission May Investigate YG Entertainment and Alleged Ties to Police
It has now been brought to the attention of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) that B.I‘s past drug suspicions may have been covered up due to YG Entertainment‘s collusion with the police. If the ACRC acknowledges the credibility of this petition, they will most likely begin an investigation on YG Entertainment and the police.
According to Newsis, Han Seo Hee anonymously filed this public petition with the ACRC on June 4. Han Seo Hee reportedly submitted the report to the ACRC through lawyer Bang Jeong Hyeon, who is known for having reported the suspicions regarding Burning Sun as well.
It has been revealed that the data submitted to the ACRC by Bang Jeong Hyeon included information that has never been exposed in the press relating to B.I’s drug case and YG’s intervention during police investigations of Han Seo Hee three years ago, and collusion between YG Entertainment and the police. The persons mentioned in the public petition include B.I, YG Entertainemtn affiliate(s), and the police.
If the ACRC deems the petition highly credible after reviewing it through their TF Team, the case will be forwarded to the police or prosecution.
Meanwhile, MBC has revealed one of the reasons why Han Seo Hee’s involvement in B.I’s drug suspicions was not properly investigated in 2016. Suwon District Prosecutor’s Office prosecution only summoned Han Seo Hee for investigations once, but not a single report was created about the investigation.
At the time of the investigations, Han Seo Hee cried so much that we could not carry out our investigation properly.
— Prosecution official
After this incident, the prosecution never called back Han Seo Hee or called on B.I for investigation because police were conducting their own separate investigation. After sending the case to the prosecution, the police continued to investigate B.I independently for 6 months, until March 2017, and the investigations ended without a result.
The investigation had to be internal because we handed over all our data related to B.I to the prosecution.
— Police Investigator
Public Sentiment and Petitions Regarding the Case
Public sentiment regarding B.I is divided. Some netizens see B.I’s decision to withdraw from iKON as an admission of guilt, and he has been accused of bleaching his hair to avoid drug testing, as seen in the case of Park Yoochun.
On the other hand, B.I has received an overwhelming amount of support from both Korean and international fans. A petition entitled, “Hanbin Shouldn’t Have to Leave iKON” is currently closing in on 800,000 signatures.
Thus far, public sentiment is currently not in YG Entertainment’s favor. Netizens have once again expressed their anger, demanding a thorough investigation into YG artists’ drug use. Through petitions, the public has also called for a boycott against YG Entertainment products, and halt to all YG artist activities. One petition, entitled, “Petition To Halt All Promotions From Entertainment Agency, YG Entertainment” was created with the intent of banning YG Entertainment artists and related artists from broadcasts and it has gained over 30,000 signatures.