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Police to crack down on drug crimes amid Burning Sun scandal

Police said Sunday they plan to conduct an intensive crackdown on drug-related crimes over the next three months amid escalating allegations involving drug use and sexual abuse at Gangnam-based nightclub Burning Sun. 

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency will clamp down on drug-related crimes from Feb. 25 to May 24 to root out sexual abuse linked to the use of drugs and cozy ties between nightclubs and some police officers.

A total of 1,063 officers specializing in investigating drug-related cases and others at relevant departments from police stations across the country will be dispatched for the mission.

The mission to crack down on drug cartels includes investigations into smuggling and the selling of illegal drugs online and offline, the use of drugs, sexual violence linked to drug use and the filming and distribution of videos featuring sex crimes.

The agency will also conduct a nationwide inspection to detect and eradicate practices of police officers receiving bribes from nightclubs in return for turning a blind eye to illegal acts taking place at the clubs.

Police are accelerating a probe into the embattled club, which had been owned by Seungri of K-pop boy band Big Bang until recently, for its alleged corrupt relations with officers from Gangnam Police Station and connections with drugs. Staffers at the club, which is now closed, are also suspected of having drugged women so VIP customers could rape them.

A total 112 complaints had been filed with police against Burning Sun since its opening in February 2018, according to statistics revealed by Rep. Lee Jae-jung of the Democratic Party of Korea. The complaints concerned assault, drugs, sexual harassment, abduction and detainment. But the club continued operations.

Seungri, who was one of the Burning Sun in-house directors, resigned from his post in January to prepare to for his mandatory military enlistment. The pop idol has denied involvement in operations of the club.