K-Pop idol Im Seulong has been involved in a fatal car accident that has resulted in the death of a jaywalking pedestrian, his agency and police confirmed on Tuesday.
The singer, 33, who is part of the group 2AM, was driving in the rain in Seoul on Saturday night when he collided with the pedestrian at a crossing.
He tried to help before emergency services arrived, however the victim tragically died from his injuries on the way to hospital.
Seulong’s agency Jellyfish Entertainment said in a statement, issued to Soompi: ‘First, may the victim of the fatal accident rest in peace, and we send our deepest condolences to his family.
‘On August 1, Im Seulong was driving his car when the accident in the rain occurred. While driving, he collided with a pedestrian crossing the road.
‘Right after the accident, Im Seulong immediately took emergency measures on site, but the victim unfortunately passed away while he was being taken to the hospital.
‘Im Seulong was questioned by the police according to protocol and was sent home afterwards, but he is in a state of shock.’
Clarifying that details of the case could not be given while the investigation is taking place, Seulong’s agency went on: ‘Please understand that we cannot reveal the details of the incident as the results of the police investigation have not been revealed yet.
‘However, we understand how much pain the victim’s family members must be in, and we would like to sincerely apologise to them.
‘Once again, may the victim rest in peace, and we send our deepest condolences to his family. We also extend our apologies to fans for causing concern. Thank you.’
The police confirmed the incident earlier in the day, saying the singer was driving his car through Eunpyeong, in Seoul at 11:50PM KST, and said in a statement: ‘We are currently in the process of investigating the accident.
‘It is true that the person passed away after being hit by Im Seulong’s car while he was jaywalking.
‘However, we are still investigating the details of the situation and whether Im Seulong violated the Road Traffic Act.’
‘Im Seulong was not driving under the influence, but we are investigating other possibilities, such as speeding.
‘However, it is difficult for us to say anything at this time as the investigation is currently underway. We ask for your understanding that we cannot reveal details regarding the investigation.’
Seulong made his name as a part of idol group 2AM, who he debuted with in 2008 under JYP Entertainment after taking part in the competition show Hot Blood.
The ballad group also consists of members Jo Kwon, Lee Changmin, and Jeong Jinwoon, and they were one of two subgroups to come from eleven-member boy band One Day – with the second idol group being named 2PM.
2AM went on hiatus in 2015 after Seulong, Jinwoon and Changmin chose to not renew their contracts with JYP Entertainment, while Kwon parted ways with the agency in 2017, though they are all still officially a part of the group.
Seulong’s car accident is the latest tragedy to strike K-Pop, following a series of young stars’ deaths in 2019.
In June, K-Pop star Yohan, of the boy band TST (formerly known as Top Secret), passed away at the age of 28, the cause of death has not been released.
Singer and actor Cha In Ha, 27, was found dead in December – the third death to hit the industry in seven weeks following the loss of Goo Hara, 28, in November and Sulli, 25, a month earlier..
Hara had been subjected to vicious attacks online about her relationships with men, local media said.
Sulli meanwhile had spoken out against cyber-bullying, after becoming the target of criticism when she spoke publicly about not wearing a bra in the conservative K-pop industry.
She was close friends with Jonghyun, a singer from K-Pop group SHINee, who took his life in December 2017 at the age of 27.
In December K-pop star Kang Daniel suspended all future performances due to his struggles with depression and panic attacks in another incident to draw attention to the industry’s dark side, he made his comeback in March.
Alongside the tragic deaths, other big names in the industry have been hit by scandals.
In March 2019 Seungri, who real name is Lee Seung-hyun and is a member of K-pop band Big Bang, was charged with providing prostitutes to foreign investors at his private club.
Then in June of last year, Yang Hyun-suk, founder of YG Entertainment, which managed Seungri and other K-pop artists, stepped down from his duties as chief producer, in the wake of drug and sex scandals.
In November musician Jung Joon-young was sentenced to six years in prison for raping a woman and distributing a video showing the act.
Choi Jong-hoon, 30, a former member of South Korean boy band FT Island, was sentenced to five years prison for the rape of the woman.
Both men were members of online chat groups that shared secret sex videos and made jokes about drugging and raping women, the court said.
A former K-pop idol opened up about the dark side of the multi-billion dollar industry in an interview with Australia’s Today show back in December.
Heo Minsun, professionally known by her stage name Way, was part of the South Korean girl group Crayon Pop from 2012 to 2017.
Speaking to the morning show, the 29-year-old said that she was cut off from friends and family and barely earned any money during her time in the chart-topping group.
‘I had to sacrifice a lot, like I couldn’t meet my family and friends, I didn’t earn money a lot,’ she said. ‘I wanted to escape from that life,’ she added.
Crayon Pop skyrocketed to fame in 2013 with the release of their third single, Bar Bar Bar.
The song’s music video went viral and turned Crayon Pop into overnight superstars.
At the height of their popularity, they opened up for Lady Gaga’s Artpop tour in North America and performed at the Sydney Opera House.
The group officially called it quits in 2017, and Way now works as a popular YouTuber.
K-pop companies are notorious for being extremely strict, with young performers, known as idols, usually banned from dating or owning a mobile phone.
They also work long hours, spending hours each day performing or rehearsing, often on little sleep.
Many K-pop stars face tremendous pressure to look and behave perfectly in an industry powered by so-called ‘fandoms’ – groups of well-organised admirers who spend enormous amounts of time and money to help their favoured stars climb up the charts and attack their perceived rivals.
In return, the stars are expected to tread carefully in an industry where today’s most-fervent fans can be tomorrow’s most vicious critics if their idols fail to meet their expectations – or ‘betray’ them.
Drug use or drunken driving are seen as career-breakers, while behaviour that causes a ‘stir’ – anything from a social media gaffe to a failure to smile ceaselessly at public appearances – could be criticised for years.