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Ex-president’s grandson apparently does drugs on YouTube livestream

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 17, 2023 - 11:57

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Grandson of the late former President Chun Doo-hwan, Chun Woo-won, who recently made headlines for publicly accusing his family of various felonies, broadcast himself taking what appeared to be drugs early Friday.

The 27-year-old started streaming himself on YouTube around 5:40 a.m., Korean time, at his New York home and apologized for what he said were his family’s crimes, with a vow to donate half of his assets to society. He also showed himself donating $52,265 to UNICEF.

After reiterating his criticism of his grandfather, whom he called a "slaughterer," Chun said he also wanted to be punished by the authorities for taking illegal substances. He then said he needs to take all the narcotics he has in order for him to go to jail and took a number of unverified pills, after which he pleaded for punishment, and apologized for unspecified wrongdoings.

The broadcast abruptly ended when several men broke into his room and apprehended him. They were confirmed to be local police, and Chun has been admitted to a hospital, according to Yonhap News.

The broadcast went on for one hour and 30 minutes, after which the video was taken down. Chun’s Instagram page, through which he uploaded accusations against his family and acquaintances, was also deleted for unspecified reasons.

Chun has stirred up controversy with claims about his family’s supposed “black money,” claims he made earlier this week. The second son of the ex-president’s son Chun Jae-yong, he claimed that his father was fabricating documents to conceal his crimes in South Korea and gain US citizenship, under the false pretense of becoming a preacher.

This picture posted on Instagram by Chun Woo-won, grandson of the late former President Chun Doo-hwan, shows him as a child with his brother and his grandfather. (Instagram) This picture posted on Instagram by Chun Woo-won, grandson of the late former President Chun Doo-hwan, shows him as a child with his brother and his grandfather. (Instagram)

In an interview with local media Thursday, he claimed that he was given billions of won (equivalent to millions of US dollars) of family fortune, and that other family members have inherited more. Chun also accused his uncles of running illegal business in the US.

In addition to his family, he had also accused his acquaintances of various sex crimes and illegal substance use by posting their names, photos, personal information and their supposed crimes on his Instagram page.

The South Korean prosecution has said it is looking into Chun’s claims to determine if they can find anything that constitutes a crime. The Ministry of Defense also said Wednesday that it would look into his Chun’s claims, specifically the part about a number of men in military service -- his acquaintances -- having used drugs.

The revelation about the secret funds of the Chun family and an admission of various crimes by one of its members sent shockwaves across the country, as the late former president had publicly refused to accept responsibility or apologize for his role in the massacre of protestors during the 1980 Gwangju Uprising. As a military dictator who was in office from 1980 to 1988, he is believed to have ordered the attacks that killed hundreds of civilians.

For Chun’s role in the Gwangju Uprising, his military coup, bribery and other charges, the court sentenced him to death along with a penalty worth 220.5 billion won ($168.8 million) in 1997. While his death sentence was later reduced to a lifetime in prison, then pardoned by then-President Kim Young-sam, the financial penalty remained.

Seizing the money, however, proved to be a tall order for the authorities as Chun repeatedly claimed he had no money -- at one point in 2003 claiming that he had only 290,100 won left in his bank account. Despite decades of forcible seizure by the authorities, 95.6 billion won was left unpaid when the former strongman died in 2021.