Will Yang Hyun-suk be acquitted in the ayangcquittal trials for retaliation to threat charges?
- By: Nat.O
- 4 weeks ago
Yang Hyun-suk, the former head of YG Entertainment, is hoping to secure an acquittal in the appeal trials for retaliation threat charges.
Seoul High Court’s Criminal Division 6-3 is set to hold the appeals trial on the 8th for charges related to Yang Hyun-suk’s violation of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment of Certain Crimes (retaliation threats, etc.).
Yang Hyun-suk was indicted on charges of persuading and threatening the whistleblower Han Seo-hee, a public informant, in connection with allegations that B.I, a member of the YG-affiliated group iKON at the time, purchased and used drugs in August 2016.
Yang Hyun-suk consistently denied the accusation that he had said to Han Seo-hee, “Killing you (in the entertainment industry) is nothing,” but the prosecution demanded a three-year prison term in the first trial, stating, “It is clear that he made harmful threats that induced fear.”
However, in December 2022, the first trial court acquitted Yang Hyun-suk, stating that “even when considering various circumstances, there is insufficient evidence that Yang Hyun-suk’s statements induced fear in the victim, as is necessary for conviction on charges of retaliation threats or coercion crimes.”
Following this verdict, the prosecution filed an appeal, claiming that the first trial court had misjudged the facts and legal interpretation.
In the ensuing appeals trial, the prosecution argued that while the first trial acquitted the defendants, it also found that Yang Hyun-suk had persuaded or pressured the victim at YG’s office and that YG’s staff members had assisted in this regard. They alleged that the actions of the defendants could not go uncriticized.
Yang Hyun-suk’s defense attorney refuted the accusations, stating, “There were no requests for false testimonies or exertion of influence.”
He also said, “When we look at the content of the testimony, there was no demand for money from Han Seo-hee. She said she would submit the recorded file, but when the prosecutor tried to take her phone, it was not there. Her statements are not credible.” The defense emphasized that there was no basis for the allegations and that Yang Hyun-suk was innocent.
In the fourth trial, whistleblower Han Seo-hee took the stand and suddenly said, “I hope Yang Hyun-suk is not punished,” and explained the circumstances at the time. Han Seo-hee, who had previously insisted during the first trial that “Yang Hyun-suk must be punished,” appeared to have had a change of heart.
She stated, “I was in an ambiguous position between the general public and entertainers and felt like throwing a stone in an egg at the time for about six years. As the trial went on for four years, I became tired and hoped that Yang Hyun-suk would admit his mistakes and apologize. I was so tired. What I wanted was a sincere apology, but I’m not sure if he will do that now. I don’t want anyone to hate me. I came out here not to bring harm but to prevent harm from happening. Rather than receiving punishment, I hope to end this fight.” She fought back tears as she spoke.
In a previous trial held on September 27, the fifth trial and the deliberation trial, Yang Hyun-suk said, “I was baffled and couldn’t understand why Han Seo-hee claimed that she heard that B.I was mentioned in connection with a drug case in 2016 while he was being investigated by the police. B.I had been a trainee since he was 13 years old, and he had managers with him, so I didn’t think he would be close to Han Seo-hee.”
He explained, “I was curious about why she was saying these things and why she contacted me first. We had a brief meeting for about 30 minutes on the 7th floor of the company building. I had never met Han Seo-hee outside before, and I thought it was a comfortable place. I never thought about it continuing for four years and I didn’t think the trial would come. It’s a strange case.”
Yang Hyun-suk’s defense attorney continued to express doubts about Han Seo-hee’s sincerity in the final statement and said, “There were no requests for false testimonies or exertion of influence. When we look at the content of the testimony, there was no demand for money from Han Seo-hee. She said she would submit the recorded file, but when the prosecutor tried to take her phone, it was not there. Her statements are not credible.” The defense emphasized that there was no basis for the allegations and asked for an acquittal, saying, “It is a place where the credibility of Han Seo-hee’s statements and how spontaneous and inconsistent they were can be seen.”
On the other hand, in its final statement, the prosecution said, “Yang Hyun-suk attempted to cover up the charges of iKON’s B.I drug crimes that were reported to the police by using the public informant,” and added, “In the beginning, the cover-up allowed B.I to gain popularity among the public and engage in entertainment activities, resulting in substantial profits. Ultimately, this benefited Yang Hyun-suk, and the defendants committed serious offenses. However, the first trial acquitted them. There is concern that unjustified cover-ups will be justified.” The prosecution emphasized, “The first trial result is a misjudgment of the facts.”
The prosecution demanded a three-year prison term for Yang Hyun-suk and a two-year prison term for Kim, a former YG manager.