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'Clean-up' work halts at South Korea club embroiled in rape allegations

By Elizabeth Shim
Seungri (L), a former member of South Korean boy band Big Bang, has apologized for sex assault allegations at a nightclub he owns in southern Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
Seungri (L), a former member of South Korean boy band Big Bang, has apologized for sex assault allegations at a nightclub he owns in southern Seoul. File Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- South Korean police have ordered clean-up work be stopped at a nightclub in southern Seoul where drugging and rapes may have occurred, according to multiple allegations.

Club Burning Sun, owned by K-pop celebrity Seungri, a former member of boy band Big Bang, is at the center of controversy over a local nightclub culture that caters to wealthy patrons and encourages police to mind their own business.

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The club's dismantlement began on Sunday amid allegations from victims and anonymous male clients that the club staff routinely used date rape drugs on women and literally dragged them to hotel rooms meant for male VIP guests.

The Seoul metropolitan police ordered club dismantlement to stop late Wednesday, according to News 1. The report came after local newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported the club was being cleaned before evidence could be collected, as Gangnam district police, suspected of taking a laissez-faire approach to club incidents, told the paper they "didn't know" anything about the demolition.

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Burning Sun opened less than a year ago. According to photographs posted to Instagram or to its proprietary website, Burning Sun regularly attracts K-pop celebrities. Seungri, whose legal name is Lee Seung-hyun, has denied knowledge of the use of date rape drugs at his establishment. Local police could bring Lee in for questioning, according to reports.

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A photo of Seungri with a suspected drug trafficker has surfaced online.

The suspect, identified as a Chinese woman, was recently investigated after police found "suspicious" liquids and white powders at her residence, according to local network KBS.

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The woman, a staff member at the club, has been connected to securing drug purchases, according to multiple reports.

The club has been under public scrutiny since late 2018, when an anonymous YouTube account holder posted surveillance footage of a "secret VIP tunnel" that Burning Sun staff use to drag drugged women to undisclosed locations.

The shocking footage shows a woman struggling to escape staff, and hold onto a nearby laptop, before they pull her by the hair and take her away.

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Local network MBC has reported staff drugged women regularly then would text VIP clients with images of the unconscious victims.

Seungri has recently apologized for the incidents.

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