South Korean Police Defend Lee Sun Kyun’s Drug Probe Amid Backlash

South Korean police defends Lee Sun Kyun's drug probe

The South Korean actor, Lee Sun Kyun best known for his performance in the Oscar-winning film Parasite passed away from suicide a day after he was interrogated for 19 hours. His tragic death has opened the dialogue about the nation’s fight against drugs and the media’s principles in coverage of high-profile cases.

Considering the sensitivity of the case particularly regarding the media coverage and concerns about the werther effect, I believe that the reputable actor’s death shouldn’t be reproduced in articles. However, South Korean police have released a statement defending their investigation process stating that it was conducted with Lee’s consent.

This narrative is problematic, to say the least, due to which it is necessary to take a closer look at the ‘justified’ investigation and the role that police and media played in the drug probe of Lee Sun Kyun.

Police defend their drug probe

Incheon Metropolitan police chief Kim Hui-Jung stated that the investigation process was justified in a recent press briefing. He also expressed ‘deep regret’ about Lee Sun Kyun’s death and sent his condolences to the actor’s family.

 

He further explained that the thorough investigation was necessary to hear his side of the story including the greatly criticized 19 hours of interrogation and defended that it was conducted in the presence of his lawyer.

He also denied the continuing leaking of details about the case before they were investigated. Dispatch has released a report highlighting these concerning connections. They mentioned that the media started to report about the case on October 19, just a day after the case was filed at the police station.

 

This initial leak of information continued till the actor’s death, which was also first leaked onto online forums before the reports of it were confirmed. Additionally, police conducted multiple tests on Lee Sun Kyun and singer G-Dragon, without reliable evidence.

Once the reports started to come out negative people began to criticize the officials for their harsh treatment along with the criticism of leniency in cases of sexual assault. This is the point where media comes into play.

KBS News published a private call record of Lee Sun Kyun

The reputable news outlet, published a private phone call recording of the Diary of a Procecutor‘s actor on the same day when his drug results came out negative. MBC’s announcer Lee Sun Young criticized this coverage stating that the call ‘should’ve remained private.’

She also questioned the journalistic value of the report claiming it was ‘to ruin someone’s life and leave long lasting scars’ on the actor and his family. Similarly, the actor’s willingness to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence was overshadowed by an old report from the police.

The report included the actor’s statement claiming that he took something that he was made to believe was sleeping medicine. Following this, he was interrogated for 19 hours and frankly, there doesn’t seem to be any logical reasoning for it not being conducted in parts if it was necessary.

Former President Moon Jae In criticized the officials

The former President of South Korea with an extensive experience as a human rights lawyer also criticized the official’s conduct in this case. He has demanded that a practice that compromises someone’s honor and character and places them excessively in media to the point that they make extreme choices should end.

Coming back to the Dispatch’s report, they have debunked that police did not have reliable sources about the drug probe. They received the report from Jung and Kim, who were blackmailing the actor for personal reasons that didn’t have anything to do with the drug allegations but the police decided to follow it without any verification.

Another police official who has experience in dealing with celebrity drug cases stated that the investigation leaking into the press is not a common practice. It was unnatural to see names being revealed at such an early stage of the investigation and the press being present at all the investigation dates.

Therefore, it is greatly worrisome that the police officials are defending and justifying Lee Sun Kyun’s drug probe at a stage that is already too late. It shows a lack of willingness to change something that has evidently caused great damage.

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