The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

Disgraced TV celebrity gets jail term for gambling

By 양승진

Published : June 3, 2011 - 17:18

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   A disgraced South Korean television celebrity was slapped Friday with a court arrest to be jailed for eight months for repeatedly gambling abroad and refusing to return home in an attempt to elude investigation.

   Shin Jung-hwan, 36, rattled the South Korean entertainment industry when media reports said last August that he had gambled away hundreds of millions of won at a hotel casino in the Philippines.

   South Korea strictly regulates gambling for its citizens even though it has one casino available for locals.

   Shin, a former singer whose bouncy shtick and punchlines were well received on numerous television shows, said he would accept the court ruling with a "gratifying" attitude.

   Shin had already had a history of gambling problems when he returned to South Korea in January. He was booked for illegal gambling in 2005 and was sued last year for a 170 million won

(US$157,000) unpaid gambling debt that he incurred while playing games in the locals-only casino in Gangwon Province.

   Police began looking into his case in September last year after a South Korean man in his 50s sued Shin for putting up his passport as collateral for his gambling debt, believed to have been borrowed from a local moneylender.

   His agency initially denied the allegation by showing a photo of Shin lying in a local hospital with breakbone fever symptoms, but several media reports accused him of plotting a self-fabricated scenario to evade illegal gambling charges.

(Yonhap News)