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Arrest Warrant Issued for Shin Jung-hwan

31 March 2011 by admin

shin-jung-hwan_seoulbeatsThings have taken another turn for the worse in the controversial life of K-pop sensation Shin Jung-hwan. Today the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for Shin due to his illegal gambling in the Philippines, misuse of his passport and other crimes.

In South Korea, habitual gambling is illegal, so the exorbitant amount of money he spent overseas could lead to Shin doing time. He likely faces up to three years in prison and a fine of 20 million won.* Shin is a star in Korea who rose to fame as a singer for two K-pop groups, Roo’ra and Country Kko Kko. He later branched out into television acting, but since then his career has been marred by controversy. In 2005, he was fined 7 million won for taking part in illegal gambling in Korea. That scrape with the law resulted in Shin losing his role on several TV shows. After his most recent legal problem, he was fired from Star Golden Bell.

Shin’s current legal woes stem from a recent vacation in Cebu, Philippines. While there, he allegedly gambled away more than 200 million won ($180,000 USD) playing baccarat at a casino resort in Cebu. Some of the money he borrowed from the casino and was unable to pay back, possibly leading to his detention by Filipino authorities. It is not clear if he was detained or simply went into hiding to avoid paying off the debt, but what is clear is that he was not in communication with his employers in Korea and never showed up for the taping of his shows.

Rumors were circulated that Shin could not return to Korea because he had contracted dengue fever. Those rumors were believed to be started by Shin and were fueled by photos taken of him in a hospital. That story was later proved to be false upon a visit by a Korean television crew. Shin then went into hiding and reportedly went from the Philippines to Hong Kong to Nepal, in each step notifying no one in Korea of his whereabouts. In January, he eventually flew from Tokyo back to Seoul and was detained by authorities for questioning.

Korea has strict laws about how much money a player can gamble, how much money than can borrow, how much they can bring overseas, and it seems that Shin violated all of them with his gambling trip in Cebu. In addition, he allegedly used his passport as collateral for the 120 million won loan from the casino, which is also illegal, in violation of Korea’s Passport Act.

* 1 US dollar = 1,093.80 South Korean won

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