2NE1 Park Bom’s past drug use swept under rug

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 1, 2014 - 20:27
  • Updated : Jul 1, 2014 - 21:04
Local newspaper Segye Ilbo on Monday night belatedly revealed that popular K-pop star and 2NE1 member Park Bom was caught trying to receive illegal amphetamines via international mail nearly four years ago in an incident that went unpunished and unreported.

On Oct. 12, 2010, customs agents at Incheon International Airport reportedly seized a package, which was sent by Park’s relatives living in the U.S., filled with 82 amphetamine pills that are banned in Korea. Although it has not been specified exactly what type of amphetamines the K-pop star was taking at the time, she claimed that she was unaware that the substance was illegal in Korea and that she was taking them for medical purposes with a valid prescription from a university hospital in the U.S., according to a statement by YG Entertainment.
Park Bom of 2NE1. (YG Entertainment)

The case was referred to the local prosecution’s office, but the incident was dismissed without indictment, raising suspicions of Park’s celebrity status bearing influence on her not being charged for attempted drug smuggling, which is the typical protocol even for first-time offenders.

In light of the scandal, YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk released a letter to the public on Tuesday stating his outrage by the slew of “absurd” articles referring to Park as a “drug smuggler” and that story was taken out of context as a result of a huge misunderstanding.

“Honestly, what mother and grandmother would smuggle drugs for their daughter or granddaughter?” Yang asked in his public letter, which was uploaded onto YG’s official blog and sent to members of the media.

“In the case of Park Bom, she was only aware that the medication that she had been using for years in the U.S. was not available in Korea and was unaware that it was an illegal substance (in Korea),” Yang wrote.

“Up until four years ago, Park had been using the medication that was officially prescribed by a university hospital in the U.S., but because her busy schedule kept her from visiting the States, her mother and grandmother mailed the medication to Korea and the problem arose during the processing at customs,” he continued. “Fortunately her medical records for the past few years and her prescription from the university hospital were submitted during the investigation and the incident was resolved.”

Despite Yang’s claims that the K-pop starlet was unaware that her actions were illegal, it was reported that the package sent to Park by her family did not use her real name nor was it sent to her personal address; the amphetamine-filled package was mailed to a small apartment complex in Incheon that was later revealed to be the home of some of Park’s other relatives.

Yang’s letter did not comment on why Park chose not to have her family send the package directly to her home, nor did it specify how many times or for how long the K-pop star had received the medication illegally.

The public statement claimed that as soon as she and her family realized that they had been breaking the law, Park went to a local hospital and received a new prescription for a different medication.

Yang also revealed that the 30-year-old pop star first started psychological counseling and treatment as a student in the U.S. after witnessing her close friend die during a soccer match. The CEO stated that he, along with the other members of 2NE1, were unaware of this incident prior to her bout with customs in 2010.

Along with her ongoing world tour with 2NE1, Park is also currently starring in the popular SBS reality show “Roommate.” However, SBS representatives said they have been discussing the fate of Park’s role in the show and are expected to announce an official decision soon.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)