South Korean Police Defend Lee Sun Kyun’s Drug Probe Amid Backlash

The sudden and tragic death of South Korean actor Lee Sun Kyun, best known for his acclaimed role in the Oscar-winning film Parasite, has sparked a nationwide conversation about the country’s approach to drug investigations and the ethical considerations surrounding media coverage of high-profile cases.

Police Defense and Investigation Process

In the wake of Lee Sun Kyun’s suicide, the Incheon Metropolitan police chief, Kim Hui-Jung, defended the 19-hour interrogation the actor underwent, emphasizing that it was carried out with Lee’s consent and in the presence of his legal representation [The Korea Herald]. However, concerns have arisen regarding the leaking of case details to the media, with reports surfacing just a day after the case was filed [Binsprins Twitter]. The timing of the leaks, coupled with the subsequent negative drug test results, has led to criticism of the investigation process.

Media’s Role in the Drug Probe

KBS News, a reputable news outlet, faced backlash for publishing a private phone call recording of Lee Sun Kyun on the same day his drug test results were declared negative [Not Pannchoa2 Twitter]. MBC’s announcer, Lee Sun Young, questioned the journalistic value of such coverage, asserting that private matters should have remained private and expressing concern about the lasting impact on the actor and his family [Not Pannchoa2 Twitter]. This incident raises questions about the media’s responsibility in handling sensitive information, especially in cases involving public figures.

Former President’s Criticism

Former South Korean President Moon Jae In, a human rights lawyer with extensive experience, criticized the conduct of officials in Lee Sun Kyun’s case. He called for an end to practices that compromise an individual’s honor and character, leading them to make extreme choices, and demanded a reassessment of the current approach to handling such cases

Debunking Reliable Sources

Dispatch, a media outlet, debunked claims that the police had reliable sources for the drug probe. The information was allegedly provided by individuals attempting to blackmail Lee Sun Kyun for personal reasons unrelated to the drug allegations [Insoliloquy Twitter]. This revelation underscores the need for thorough verification before initiating high-profile investigations.


The controversy surrounding Lee Sun Kyun’s drug probe and subsequent tragic death sheds light on the intersection of law enforcement, media, and public figures. The criticisms from former President Moon Jae In and media outlets like Dispatch highlight the importance of revisiting investigative practices and ensuring responsible reporting to prevent further harm. As South Korea grapples with the aftermath of this incident, it prompts a broader conversation about the impact of such cases on individuals and the role of the media and law enforcement in shaping public opinion.


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