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Arrest warrant issued for embattled popera star Kim Ho-joong

May 24, 2024 - 21:17 By Yonhap
Singer Kim Ho-joong leaves the Seoul Central District Court building located in Seocho-gu, Seoul, after attending the court hearing to determine whether to issue his arrest warrant, Friday. (Yonhap)

A Seoul court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for embattled popera star Kim Ho-joong on charges of ramming into a taxi while driving under the influence and fleeing the scene.

Kim's arrest comes two days after prosecutors applied for an arrest warrant on charges of crashing into a stationary taxi in the opposite lane in Seoul's southern district of Gangnam on the night of May 9 while driving drunk. He then allegedly left the scene without taking post-accident measures.

The Seoul Central District Court issued the warrant after questioning the suspect earlier in the day, citing the risk of destroying evidence.

Donning a black business suit without a necktie, Kim appeared at the Seoul Central District Court for the hearing earlier in the day.

When asked about his alleged crime by reporters, Kim bowed his head and said: "I will sincerely respond to today's hearing. I am sincerely sorry."

Following a 50-minute hearing, Kim, with his hands roped, was escorted by police officers to wait in custody at the Gangnam Police Station until the court's decision.

Police and prosecutors earlier expected the court to issue a warrant on the grounds that he had initially lied about how much alcohol he drank on the day of the accident and had been uncooperative in submitting his mobile phones for investigation.

An arrest warrant was also issued for Lee Kwang-deuk, the head of Kim's management agency, and another agency official on charges of instigating Kim's flight from the accident site or destroying evidence.

The 33-year-old singer rose to stardom after appearing on the audition show "Mr. Trot."

The previous day, Kim's side filed a request with the court to postpone the scheduled hearing, apparently intending to proceed with his two-day concert from Thursday to Friday in Seoul, but the court rejected the request.

Dumir, the organizer of the show, said Kim would not be on stage Friday.

The popular singer came under public fury after it was reported that his manager initially lied to the police that he was behind the wheel at the time of the accident and that Kim appeared before the police 17 hours after the accident, apparently to evade a blood alcohol test. (Yonhap)