The South Korean popstar jailed for falling foul of gambling law

  • Jung Jin Woo handed jail sentence for illegal online gambling
  • Popstar gambled $3 million away, despite being cautioned

Pop star Jung Jin Woo is the latest South Koren to have fallen foul of the country’s gambling laws and has been sentenced to a year in prison.

Legislation can be quite strict in South Korea, so much so that citizens who gamble recklessly overseas can be prosecuted, even when gambling in countries where it’s perfectly legal.

This video features Jung Jin Woo in full popstar mode.

Previous cautions

Woo had received a caution about his illegal online gambling activity back in 2007. He was questioned about it again in 2014, but insisted to the authorities that he hadn’t used his account for gambling and that it was actually his stepfather who had been using the account.

His stepfather was subsequently handed a fine of KRW 1 million ($900). Despite this, it has been reported that Woo continued to gamble and even worked as a promoter for his regular gambling site from August to September of last year.

Gambling activity exposed

Woo’s illegal gambling activity apparently caught up with him when the authorities formally prosecuted him. It is alleged that over numerous years, he had spent around KRW 3.5 billion ($3 million) and had carried out more than 1,500 transactions at an illegal gambling site.

He confessed to his misdeeds, claiming that he gambled so he could maintain his lifestyle. It also came out that he had persuaded his stepfather to give the authorities a false statement in order to cover up his crimes.

Prison sentence

The Seoul Southern District Court sentenced Woo to a year in prison after pleading guilty not only to gambling online, but also to persuading his stepfather to lie to the law enforcement authorities. It was the latter action that made the court decide giving Woo a prison sentence was ‘unavoidable’.

Woo found fame as a member of the pop group M2M, which he left in 2013. Then in 2015, he featured in the fifth season of the show K-pop Star – South Korea’s equivalent of American Idol – and was the only male contestant to finish in the top 10. He subsequently signed a deal to release solo music.

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