|Seungri, former member of BIGBANG, is captured on camera shaking a soju bottle. Captured from SNS
Seungri appears in post by Indonesian influencer
By An Aram
Disgraced K-pop star Seungri, whose real name is Lee Hyun-seung, is back in the spotlight following a long absence that followed his 18-month prison sentence on charges of arranging prostitution and gambling overseas.
On April 25, the former member of K-pop group BIGBANG was spotted in a video posted on social media, showing off a soju bottle "whirlpool trick" with a beaming smile on his face.
In the video, Seungri is wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of sunglasses exclaiming, "This is a Korean tradition." He then taps the bottom of the soju bottle with his elbow and hits the neck of the bottle with his two fingers spread out after opening it. The caption "Whirlpool style!" is shown in the video as he demonstrates the routine.
The video, along with several other photos, was uploaded to Instagram by Grace Tahir, daughter of Indonesian billionaire Dato Sri Tahir, the founder of Indonesia's fifth-largest conglomerate Mayapada Group. The younger Tahir is also a popular social media influencer with 220,000 followers and the video had been taken during her recent trip to Korea.
According to the influencer, "Seungri is doing well both physically and mentally. When I asked how his parents were doing, he said they were doing just fine." She also noted that Seungri is very sociable and loves to engage in conversation. She was also surprised by his low-key appearance without the colorful hair and makeup that he's often seen wearing in photographs online.
Tahir said she asked Seungri whether he was interested in doing an interview, to which Seungri replied, "Now isn't the right time."
Despite the controversy surrounding the video, Tahir explained that Seungri drank very little and was not intoxicated in any way at the time, refuting the claims of many online users and some Korean media outlets. Tahir said she had asked Seungri to show her the Korean soju whirlpool trick and that he was simply doing what was asked of him.
Prior to this fall from grace, Seungri was one of the biggest stars in K-pop as a member of the boy band BIGBANG. His career effectively ended when he was found guilty last year on multiple charges including overseas gambling, illegal foreign exchange transactions and solicitation for prostitution. He was sentenced to 18 months behind bars and was released from prison on Feb. 9 earlier this year.
An Aram (email@example.com) is a reporter at the Hankook Ilbo, a sister publication of The Korea Times. This article, previously published in the Hankook Ilbo, has been translated as part of a news-sharing program.