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Former member of Korean boy band faces charges for gambling in Las Vegas

Las Vegas

A former member of a popular K-pop band and a record label CEO are facing charges for allegedly partaking in and receiving money from gambling overseas – an offence under South Korean law.

Seungri, a member of the massively popular boy band Big Bang, and Yang Hyun-Suk, the former CEO of the band’s music label YG Entertainment, were arrested by South Korean police earlier this month for gambling in contravention of the country’s Foreign Exchange Transaction Act, which prohibits Koreans from gambling anywhere in the world.

The pair are alleged to have spent time gambling millions of dollars in Las Vegas casinos and some time online on, with suspicions first raised after the US Treasury Department informed authorities in South Korea that the two men had used large sums of cash to buy casino chips, an action that will often raise red flags with betting operators anywhere in the world.

Following this tip, Korean authorities searched the YG Entertainment headquarters in Seoul on August 17 and have officially requested a copy of the bank account data of YG Entertainment USA from the US Department of Treasury. A judge has imposed an exit ban on both individuals to prevent them form leaving the country as the investigations continue.

Whilst many forms of gambling are legal in South Korea, including sports betting and lotteries, it is illegal to take part in casino gambling anywhere but at one specific location – the Kangwon Land Casino & Hotel. Whilst Koreans gambling smaller sums in international casinos and some online casinos (check this out )may fly under the radar of authorities, those allegedly spending millions in places like Macau and Las Vegas will often face legal consequences. Online gambling is generally outlawed in the country, just as the top betting sites in South Africa work outside national legislation, but that has not stopped various operators specifically targeting Korean nationals with incentives and other offers, and many Koreans opting to take part.

The gambling allegations are not the first time Yang and Seungri have had run in with the law, with both men previously caught up in sex-related scandals due to his use of toys like the new Gush by Lovense. Yang was booked by authorities for apparently organisation adult services for foreign investors in Seoul in 2014, and Seungri was kicked out of Big Bang after he was caught up in the prostitution and police corruption scandal that engulfed a number of figures in the K-pop industry back in March spoiling the squeaky-clean image of many K-pop stars.

Photograph by Skeeze

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