Nightclub targeted for alleged drug use to assist sexual violence

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Nightclub targeted for alleged drug use to assist sexual violence

Suspicions of repeated use of date rape drugs at the Burning Sun nightclub in southern Seoul are becoming more serious. / Yonhap

Nearly 20,000 people petition to punish Burning Sun operators

By Kim Jae-heun

Suspicions of repeated use of date rape drugs at the Burning Sun nightclub in southern Seoul are becoming more serious, after recent testimony alleged club staff drugged young women to help their VIP customers rape them.

A man who claims to be a VIP member of the club said staff at the Burning Sun regularly texted their rich customers to visit as they had women "ready" for them, according to local broadcaster MBC, Wednesday.

He said that on one occasion a staff member sent him a picture of a naked, unconscious woman, adding that she was ready for him.

"They talk like they are talking about food or something. Staff there say they also have sex with women after drugging them so they fall unconscious," he said.

It is suspected that the date rape drug, gamma-hydroxyButrate (GHB), is being frequently administered at the club. The drug acts as a psychoactive neurotransmitter that induces intoxication, mild euphoria and grogginess, as well as consequential memory loss.

"A few days later, the staffer sent me another text message with a video clip showing an intoxicated woman being raped. He told me the women did not know they were being filmed because they were drugged," the customer said.

He added that he received these kinds of text message and photos once every two weeks for five months until December. They were sent usually at 10 p.m. when the nightclub opened.

The man also revealed that staff at the club select young women to drug for rich Chinese customers who spend 30 million won ($26,661) a visit.

"They told me they drugged young girls for Chinese VIPs and received big tips in return," he said.

Following increased reports of such illegal activity, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency questioned Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon-ho, Wednesday, about the allegations.

Officer also searched the club Thursday, to seize evidence of the alleged drug use, as well as Yeoksam Police Precinct near the club for alleged corrupt ties with it.

Earlier a customer raised suspicion that police officers there were "protecting" the club operators and overlooking their illegalities. He claimed he was trying to stop the sexual harassment of a female customer but club staff members attacked him. Police officers, whom he called for help, also attacked him instead of apprehending the staffers.

Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition on Cheong Wa Dae's website calling for a thorough investigation and the punishment of those found responsible.

The club was known as "Seungri's Club," as the member of K-pop group Big Bang was reportedly the owner. But after this allegation emerged, staff said the star was not an owner but did participate in management of the club.


Suspicions of repeated use of date rape drugs at the Burning Sun nightclub in southern Seoul are becoming more serious. / Yonhap

Nearly 20,000 people petition to punish Burning Sun operators

By Kim Jae-heun

Suspicions of repeated use of date rape drugs at the Burning Sun nightclub in southern Seoul are becoming more serious, after recent testimony alleged club staff drugged young women to help their VIP customers rape them.

A man who claims to be a VIP member of the club said staff at the Burning Sun regularly texted their rich customers to visit as they had women "ready" for them, according to local broadcaster MBC, Wednesday.

He said that on one occasion a staff member sent him a picture of a naked, unconscious woman, adding that she was ready for him.

"They talk like they are talking about food or something. Staff there say they also have sex with women after drugging them so they fall unconscious," he said.

It is suspected that the date rape drug, gamma-hydroxyButrate (GHB), is being frequently administered at the club. The drug acts as a psychoactive neurotransmitter that induces intoxication, mild euphoria and grogginess, as well as consequential memory loss.

"A few days later, the staffer sent me another text message with a video clip showing an intoxicated woman being raped. He told me the women did not know they were being filmed because they were drugged," the customer said.

He added that he received these kinds of text message and photos once every two weeks for five months until December. They were sent usually at 10 p.m. when the nightclub opened.

The man also revealed that staff at the club select young women to drug for rich Chinese customers who spend 30 million won ($26,661) a visit.

"They told me they drugged young girls for Chinese VIPs and received big tips in return," he said.

Following increased reports of such illegal activity, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency questioned Burning Sun CEO Lee Moon-ho, Wednesday, about the allegations.

Officer also searched the club Thursday, to seize evidence of the alleged drug use, as well as Yeoksam Police Precinct near the club for alleged corrupt ties with it.

Earlier a customer raised suspicion that police officers there were "protecting" the club operators and overlooking their illegalities. He claimed he was trying to stop the sexual harassment of a female customer but club staff members attacked him. Police officers, whom he called for help, also attacked him instead of apprehending the staffers.

Nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition on Cheong Wa Dae's website calling for a thorough investigation and the punishment of those found responsible.

The club was known as "Seungri's Club," as the member of K-pop group Big Bang was reportedly the owner. But after this allegation emerged, staff said the star was not an owner but did participate in management of the club.


Kim Jae-heun jhkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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