BIGBANG's T.O.P Receives Suspended Prison Sentence for Marijuana Usage
On Thursday (July 20), a South Korean court sentenced K-pop star T.O.P to a 10-month suspended jail sentence for drug use after the BIGBANG member pleaded guilty and sought leniency.
The Seoul Central District Court found the 29-year-old rapper and actor -- whose real name is Choi Seung-Hyun -- guilty of the use of marijuana, which is illegal in South Korea. The 10-month jail term, suspended for two years, was delivered after T.O.P showed remorse and apologized to his fans.
"The defendant has admitted his guilt and the court acknowledges all charges as guilty," Judge Kim Ji-chul said, reports Yonhap. "The defendant, as someone who's been loved by many fans here and abroad, has disappointed his family and fans. Yet the court has allowed for the fact that he has pleaded guilty, regrets having committed the wrongdoing and shows willingness not to commit such a misdeed again."
"I'm truly sorry that I disappointed my fans and the public. I will do my best to make a fresh start and not to make such a mistake again with what I've learned from this lesson," T.O.P told reporters after receiving the sentence.
T.O.P was indicted on drug charges in June relating to marijuana usage last October. He was suspended from serving as a conscripted police officer while fulfilling his mandatory military service, which all able-bodied South Korean men are required to serve for at least 21 months before the age of 35.
Following the indictment, the star was hospitalized after being found unconscious from overdosing on prescribed tranquilizers, but has since recovered.
T.O.P will also face disciplinary review by the police force to determine whether he will be able to complete his term serving as a policeman. If he is discharged, he will complete his mandatory military service as a public service worker.
As a member of BIGBANG, one of K-pop's most popular boy bands, and an actor, T.O.P is one of South Korea's most prominent celebrities and has fans from all over the world. He has been on hiatus from all entertainment work since beginning his mandatory service in February.