Yong Junhyung Leaves K-pop Group HIGHLIGHT & Admits Knowledge of Sex Crimes Scandal

Rapper-songwriter Yong Junhyung has withdrawn from boy band HIGHLIGHT, formerly known as BEAST, amid a series of crimes shaking the South Korean entertainment world.

Yong took to Instagram on Thursday morning in Seoul (March 14) to announce the news and confirm his knowledge and viewership of illegal videos taken by singer Jung Joonyoung. Jung is currently under investigation over allegations that he secretly filmed videos while sleeping with women and shared the footage with others in the entertainment industry via messenger chats.

In his post, Yong admitted to receiving illegally filmed video footage from Jung, and partaking in “inappropriate conversations.”

“I treated it as not a big deal without thinking that it is a crime and illegal act,” he wrote, as per Soompi’s translation. He later added, “Although I knew of what was happening during that time, I thought of it as not a big deal and acted at ease. I was a silent bystander about this severe issue where several more victims may have arisen due to my actions.”

The post also addressed how he had previously denied rumors that he was involved in the ongoing investigation surrounding chatroom conversations within which Jung, former BIGBANG member Seungri, and others discussed numerous illegal and illicit situations together. According to Yong, he misunderstood prior inquiries, prompting his label, Around Us Entertainment, to previously issue a denial of his involvement with the ongoing controversy. 

Yong also wrote in his post that he was participating in the ongoing investigation, and expressed an apology to the four other members of HIGHLIGHT and his fans. “I do not want any further harm to be done to my fans and members who must have been disappointed because of me, so I will leave the group HIGHLIGHT as of March 14, 2019. I will live while reflecting on myself again and again. I once again apologize sincerely.”

Shortly after Yong’s post, Around Us Entertainment issued a similar statement confirming his departure from HIGHLIGHT. In it, the company also stated that Yong had been involved in direct conversations with Jung, rather than was a participant in the controversial group chat. 

Yong is the fourth known celebrity involved in a widespread series of investigations into corrupt and illicit practices in the Korean entertainment and nightlife industries, and potential corruption in police forces. Beginning at the end of January, a video clip of violence and abuse of power taking place at a Gangnam club, Burning Sun, prompted investigations into illegal activities allegedly taking place there; Seungri (Lee Seunghyun) served as the public relations director of the business. Over the next few weeks, more and more information filtered out and, at the end of February, messenger app chatroom conversations obtained by SBS funE reporter Kang Kyung Yoon revealed a circle of male entertainers involved in illicit activities. A major element revolved around them sharing illegally filmed videos of sexual content. Illegal spy cameras in both public and private locations are an epidemic in South Korea, and last year prompted a protest where women rallied against their lives and bodies being turned into sexual content.

This week has seen a reckoning for several men associated with the chats: On Monday (March 11), Seungri was booked on sexual bribery charges after a chat conversation depicted the star coordinating the supply of prostitutes to potential investors for his business ventures. He announced his retirement from the industry that day, and on Wednesday (March 13) YG Entertainment severed ties with him. On Tuesday (March 12), screenshots from chats prompted Jung to admit to filming multiple women in sexual situations without their consent and sharing the footage with others, and he too was booked by the police; Wednesday saw his agency, MakeUs Entertainment, also terminate its contract with him. Also on Wednesday, FTISLAND’s Choi Jonghoon was revealed, also through the chat conversations, to have allegedly benefited from police favoritism to cover up a drunk driving incident. This prompted the National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong to issue a statement on Wednesday that it is holding an internal investigation to investigate claims that a high-ranking police official was corroborating with the men. On Thursday, Choi reportedly left FTISLAND.


안녕하세요 용준형입니다. 먼저, 요 며칠 저로 인해 힘든 시간을 보냈을 멤버들과 모든 팬들께 진심으로 사과드립니다. 저는 11일 SBS 8시 뉴스가 나온 직후 회사의 사실여부 확인 전화를 받았을 때 논점을 잘 이해하지 못하고 제가 단톡방에 없었다는 내용만 전달하였습니다. 그래서 회사 입장에서는 저의 편을 들어 공식 입장에서 보도 내용이 맞지 않다고 얘기를 하였으나, 제가 잘못 전달한 내용이었습니다. 공식입장을 내기 위해 회사와 얘기를 하던 중 그 일이 2016년이라고 말씀드렸던 건, 정준영과의 대화 내용이 제 카톡에 남아있지 않았기 때문에 그때 당시 날짜 확인을 제대로 할 수가 없었습니다. 이 또한 많은 이들의 혼란을 가중시킨 점, 사과드립니다. 2015년 말 당시 카톡 내용 관련해서 뉴스에서 보도된 저와 정준영과의 대화 내용은, 그 전날 같이 술을 마시고 집에 들어간 후, 그 다음날 안부를 물어보다가 정준영이 그런 일(불법 동영상 촬영물을 다른 사람에게 보내다 걸렸다는) 이 있었다며 얘기를 했고, 거기에 제가 “그 여자애한테 걸렸다고?” 라고 답변을 한 것이었습니다. 그 때 동영상을 받은 적은 없지만, 다른 동영상을 받은 적 있습니다. 뿐만 아니라 거기에 대한 부적절한 대화도 하였습니다. 이 모든 행동들이 너무나 부도덕한 행동들이었고, 제가 어리석었습니다. 이것이 범죄이고 범법 행위이라고 생각하지 못하고 안일하게만 생각했고, 그것을 단호하게 제지하지 못한 점 또한 제 잘못입니다. 어제 저는 이 사안과 관련하여 참고인 조사를 받으러 다녀왔습니다. 제가 알고 있는 모든 것에 대해서 거짓 없이 이야기하고, 수사에 협조하였습니다. 참고인 조사를 받으면서 과거에 제가 어떤 대화들을 했는지 정확하게 보게 되었고, 부끄럽고 참담함을 금할 수 없었습니다. 단 한번도 몰카를 찍는다거나 그것을 유포한다거나 하는 등의 범법행위는 하지 않았습니다. 또한, 2016년 말부터는 정준영과 서로의 안부를 간간히 물어보는 정도의 관계만 유지했습니다. 그러나 저는 그동안 그런 사실을 알았으면서도 너무나도 쉽고 안일하게 생각하였고 행동하였으며, 여태껏 그런 저의 행동으로 인해 다른 수많은 피해자들이 생길 수도 있는 이 심각한 문제에 대해 묵인한 방관자였습니다. 이제껏 보내주신 과분한 사랑에 보답하지 못하고 이런 일로 저를 믿고 있는 멤버들과 팬분들의 신뢰를 저버리게 되어 정말 죄송합니다. 저는 이 사안의 심각성을 깨닫고, 또 저로 인해 실망하셨을 팬분들과 멤버들에게 더 이상 피해가 가는 것을 원치 않아, 2019년 3월 14일자로 그룹 하이라이트에서 탈퇴를 하겠습니다. 반성하고, 또 반성하며 살겠습니다. 다시 한번 진심으로 사과드립니다.

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