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Park Yu-chun slapped with overseas travel ban amid drug scandal

By Kim Rahn

Park Yu-chun

Police have placed an overseas travel ban on singer Park Yu-chun as part of their investigation into drug use allegations involving his former fiancee.

They plan to summon the JYJ boy band member soon for questioning.

The investigation into Park came after his ex-fiancee Hwang Ha-na was arrested on April 6 for using methamphetamine on multiple occasions in 2015 and this year as well as some other illegal drugs in April last year.

During questioning, Hwang, a granddaughter of the founder of Namyang Dairy Products, told police she began to use the drugs following a celebrity’s encouragement. She said the celebrity injected meth into her while she was sleeping and they used it together several times early this year as well, according to the police.

As rumors grew that the celebrity was Park, the singer denied it at a press conference in Seoul last Wednesday.

Park claimed he had never used any illegal drugs, nor had he forced Hwang to use them. He said he would cooperate with any police investigations.

Despite Park’s denial, the police banned him from leaving the country and plan to book him as a suspect soon to formally open the investigation.

The police suspect Park and Hwang have kept in contact since their breakup last May, and are looking into their phone conversation records. A local broadcaster reported on Saturday that the police obtained a surveillance camera recording which showed Park visiting Hwang’s home in southern Seoul earlier this year.

The two began dating in 2016 and Park announced his plans to marry her in 2017. But they called off the marriage twice and broke up in May 2018.

On Friday, the police referred Hwang’s drug use case to the prosecution.

She had been involved in other drug allegations before, in 2011 and 2015, but always avoided criminal charges even despite testimonies from another drug user who claimed Hwang was the supplier.

This raised suspicions of cozy relations between the police and her family, and a local media outlet disclosed a voice recording recently in which she boasted of her family’s ties to high-level police officials.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said last week they had temporarily suspended two officers, who had been in charge of the 2015 allegations, after finding out they investigated the case “poorly” at the time.