The Lee Sun-Kyun drug case shows the problem of drugs in nightclubs and entertainment.

The news of actor Lee Sun-Kyun ‘s drug case has already been reported by several media outlets. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the relationship between celebrity drug use and nightclubs, focusing on the case of Lee Sun-Kyun.

a close up of a person's lips and tongue

Overview of Lee Sun-Kyundrug case

Actor Lee Sun-Kyunwas investigated by the Incheon National Police Agency’s Drug Crime Investigation Division for allegedly taking drugs. It was alleged that Lee Sun-Kyunwas given the drugs by Kim Mo, a female owner of a brothel in Gangnam, Seoul. Lee Sun-Kyunclaimed that Yeo had given him drugs at her home, and later explained that he had paid her 350 million won in “hush money” under threat of exposing her drug use.

Nightclubs where drug incidents have occurred are known as “Ilpro” establishments. Ilpro is a higher-level concept than Tenpro, which only manages the top 10% of the hospitality industry, and has a membership system that only accepts guests whose identities can be verified through referrals from friends and family, with table settings alone costing up to 10 million won. There are also reports that celebrities and dignitaries are the main customers, and that they are masked before entering to protect their identity.

It is known that there are “drug madams”in brothels that provide drugs. They say the brothels are virtually self-sufficient, with Telegram drug dealers and dermatologists and plastic surgeons frequenting them. Telegram drug dealers often supply their drug madams with weed or crystal meth to reduce the price of their drinks or table charge (TC).

Drugs and celebrities

Most entertainers I’ve met at nightclubs confess to feeling “lonely. They make good money, live in luxury homes and own foreign cars, but they feel virtually free. From the moment you step out the door, you’re under surveillance, and you’re heading out into the nightlife.

When drugs spread among celebrities, they often attract fellow celebrities. This is why celebrity drug investigations rarely stop at one suspect. In the case of singer Nam Tae-hyun, he started using drugs in a brothel, and came under scrutiny shortly thereafter when Min Jae revealed that he had taken meth with Nam Tae-hyun.

In the entertainment industry, it’s become a staple of rookie year to meet a station PD or investor at a nightclub with a representative from the agency. But where’s the backroom deal on the booze? If hospitality isn’t mobilized, it doesn’t count as a sale. It’s the kind of culture you get used to early on, and it’s the kind of thing that drives you to seek out nightlife even when you’re a star.

In the past, it was socially acceptable for artists to excuse drug use as a way to expand their creative horizons or relieve the pressure and stress of staying popular. From 1983 to 1989, many of the top singers of the time, including Jeon Myung-ho, Kim Tae-won, Lee Seung-chul, Kim Hyun-shik, and Shin Hae-chul, were detained for smoking cannabis, but most of them returned to the industry.

Drug and chemical scandals

In the 2010s, however, it began to be tainted by scandals involving sex workers. In 2019, singer-turned-actor Park Yoo-chun was sentenced to probation after his involvement in the Club Burning Sun case revealed that he had taken drugs with Hwang Hana, a third-generation chaebol. In addition, the judgment states that he took meth on multiple occasions with his hostess.

Going back even further, actor Joo Ji Hoon’s 2009 drug overdose case came to light after police received a tip while investigating sex workers in the Gangnam area. As such, drug use in nightclubs has been identified as one of the main routes through which the epidemic can spread among celebrities.

“The public no longer looks kindly on celebrity drug cases. Moreover, as drug cases have become inseparable from the entertainment industry, it is impossible to restore their image. There are probably more than a few celebrities who have been keeping a close eye on media trends in the wake of Lee Sun-Kyun ‘s case.”

ground cannabis on clear plastic bag

Changes in drugs and nightlife

The drug culture in the nightlife industry is in need of change. The Lee Sun-Kyun case has brought the issue of drugs in the entertainment industry to the forefront of society’s minds, and there are calls for thorough management and change.


Finally, the Lee Sun-Kyun case should make us think about how we as a society should respond to the drug problem. As drug use in entertainment venues can spread not only among celebrities but also among the general public, it is necessary to take systematic measures to prevent and deter it.

Lee Sun-Kyundrug case can be seen as a societal problem, not just an individual problem. I hope that our society will recognize this deeply and respond appropriately, and that it will contribute to building a better society.

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