From Lee Min Ho to Kim Tae Hee, various Korean celebrities are embroiled in controversies

Initially, 2023 seems to be filled with exciting news in the Korean entertainment industry, starting with Lee Jong Suk and IU’s sweet words to each other (after their dating news on Dec. 30), and various marriage announcements, from Song Joong Ki and later from Lee Seung Gi.

However, the year soon has to brace itself against various controversies, from the public criticizing Lee Seung Gi’s future in-laws, Yoo Ah In’s drug scandal, to various tax evasion allegations directed at the top of stars. So far, numerous A-list celebrities, including Lee Byung Hun, Kwon Sang Woo, Kim Tae Hee, and Lee Min Ho, have also found themselves in deep messes. 

The fall of “acting king” Yoo Ah In

In February, Yoo Ah In’s agency, UAA, confirmed that the actor is being investigated for illegal use of propofol. At the time, his hair sample was also collected for analysis, and as of March 2023, it was revealed that Yoo Ah In tested positive for illegal drugs propofol, cannabis, ketamine, and cocaine, causing deep shock among the public.


Then, Channel A reported that Yoo Ah In allegedly used propofol 73 times in 2021 alone, which amounts to 4.4 liters of drugs. If true, this means that the actor uses at least 60 ml of propofol every week, alongside other addictions – a frequency that may be fatal to users. 

Across his career, Yoo Ah In has always been respected for his outstanding acting skills, professionalism, and dedication. The award-winning actor’s image was thus deeply stained following his drug scandal. So far, various brands which Yoo Ah In models for have taken his images of their media platforms, while acting projects featuring the actor are in danger of indefinite delay. OTT platform Netflix even removed Yoo Ah In from the case line up for season 2 of “Hellbound”, replacing him with another actor.

Yoo Ah In’s acting career is in hot waters, but that’s only the least of his concerts. In particular, Korean media reported that with his level of drug usage, Yoo Ah In may be facing a 5-year prison sentence, alongside a hefty fine. The drugs used may also have detrimental effects on the actor’s physical and mental health, and recovery may be an extremely lengthy path. 

Various A-list stars faced tax controversies

On February 28th, actor Lee Byung Hun was fined 100 million won (around 76,000 USD) for tax evasion. The National Tax Service of South Korea had conducted a sudden investigation on Lee Byung Hun’s agency, BH Entertainment in September 2022, and in late February 2023, the findings were officially announced. According to the investigation, Lee Byung Hun evaded taxes by buying and selling a property in Seoul between 2018 and 2021 and earning 10 billion won (7.6 million USD) in profits. He also established an investment company and rented out real estate with many abnormal business signs. However, BH Entertainment, the company owned by Lee Byung Hun, has a completely different explanation for the purpose of the 100 million won payment to the treasury. According to the representative of the company, this is an additional tax payment due to errors in the accounting process for employee bonuses.

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Also on February 28th, Aju Economy reported that Kwon Sang Woo was being investigated for tax evasion activities since 2020, leading to him facing 1 billion won in fines. Reports claimed that the actor evaded taxes by buying five expensive sports cars under the name of his agency, Soo Company, though the company denied this allegation, stating that there’s no fraudulent behavior, only a difference in the company’s profit and loss allocation in their tax report. After reviewing the report, Kwon Sang Woo’s side also voluntarily paid the 1 billion won that the National Tax Service had demanded.

Then, on March 1st, news of Kim Tae Hee facing investigation for her taxable income in 2022 also surfaced. According to Korean media, the actress has to pay up to 100 million won in fines. However, Kim Tae Hee’s agency claimed otherwise, clarifying that the 100 million won was a supplemental payment for the missing amount, not a fine for tax evasion. The company also explained that the delay in reporting Kim Tae Hee’s income was due to her changing management companies, which caused some disruption in the paperwork.

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Finally, the latest celebrity involved in this tax scandal is actor Lee Min Ho. On March 2nd, Nate reported that Lee Min Ho and his management company, MYM Entertainment, were being demanded to pay 100 million won in missing taxes, sparking suspicions that Lee Min Ho had engaged in tax evasion. However, MYM Entertainment quickly clarified that Lee Min Ho had not evaded taxes and that the issue was due to an accounting error made by one of their staff.

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All 4 aforementioned cases have followed the same pattern: tax evasion was reported by the media, but the celebrities deny it, stating that the payment made was a supplemental amount rather than a fine for tax evasion. However, their explanations did not convince the public, and many people criticized the actors and actresses on social media.

Even with clarification, the controversies have caused damage to Lee Min Ho, Kim Tae Hee, Lee Byung Hun, and Kwon Sang Woo’s reputation and image in the eyes of the public. However, unlike the case of Yoo Ah In, it is likely that they will only take a short hiatus before returning to their activities as if nothing had happened.

Source: k14

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