Police raided the production company of the K-pop audition TV series “Produce 101” on Wednesday.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, the agency’s cybercrime investigation unit executed a search and seizure operation at cable channel Mnet’s headquarters in Mapo, western Seoul.
Mnet -- owned by mass media and entertainment conglomerate CJ ENM -- asked police to investigate its production team Friday after viewers raised suspicion of manipulation of the viewer poll results that determined the winners.
Top-ranking contestants are given opportunities to sign with a major record label.
A group of viewers had earlier expressed they intended to file formal charges against the “Produce 101” production crew, accusing them of rigging the paid poll, which cost the voter 100 won per vote.
According to the results announced during the final episode, five of the 11 winners earned over a million votes each. This means the show raised hundreds of millions of won in profit from the voting alone.
Viewers demanded that Mnet publish vote count data after the channel admitted to “errors” in the vote computing system via an online apology posted Wednesday.
Mnet said it would fully cooperate with the investigation and accept the consequences of any wrongdoing that might be uncovered.
The 12-episode show aired May 3 to July 19.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org)