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Shin Jung-hwan Indicted for Gambling Splurge

24 January 2011 by admin

shin-jung-hwan_seoulbeatsUpdating an earlier story, South Korean television and music star Shin Jung-hwan was arrested last week following an interrogation regarding his gambling trip in the Philippines. He was detained upon his arrival at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul on January 19 and was then booked later in the day.

Upon posting bail, Shin was released from jail without detention. He has been indicted on charges of violating Korea’s foreign exchange law. The Foreign Exchange Transactions Act, passed in 1999, gives the government control over large overseas transactions in order to maintain a more stable economy and the proper “balance” of international payments. By gambling away a fortune in the Philippines, Shin may have violated that law.

Shin declined to comment on the charges and potential charges against him, but as he was released from the Jongno police station, he said that friends are encouraging him to “not give up” and said that he “will be forgiven if I diligently seek forgiveness and reflect on my mistakes.”

Shin is accused of losing approximately 130 million won* on baccarat at a hotel in Cebu, Philippines in August of last year. Shin is reported to have borrowed 120 million won at the casino and allegedly has not yet paid the debt. After losing the money, Shin never arrived back in Korea to tape the television shows Star Golden Bell and Boquet. It was originally reported that he was hospitalized due to contracting dengue fever, something that was revealed to be untrue. Shin was subsequently fired from the network.

After going into hiding and reportedly spending time in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Nepal, Shin flew from Tokyo to Seoul, South Korea, where he was arrested. It has been reported that in order to get the 120 million won loan, Shin used his passport as collateral. That would violate the Passport Act. Shin Jung-hwan, who rose to stardom as a singer in two K-pop groups before crossing over to television, faces up to three years in prison and a 20 million won fine if he is convicted on all counts.

*1 South Korean won = 0.0009 US dollar

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