Hong Kong government says South Korean fallen star Seungri has not applied for visa to settle in city

Hong Kong government says South Korean fallen star Seungri has not applied for visa to settle in city

Hong Kong has not had a talent scheme or visa application from a former pop singer from South Korea to settle in the city, the government has said.

A government spokesman confirmed on Thursday night that no applications had been made after reports that fallen star Seungri, jailed over a sex and drugs scandal, planned to open a nightclub in the city.

The spokesman, who did not identify Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun, by name, said the government had not had a visa application from “a former Korean artiste”.

He added that no application by “the said person” had been made through any of the city’s talent admission schemes.

“The relevant government departments will, in accordance with the established mechanism, play a robust gatekeeping role when processing applications of talent admission schemes to ensure only applications of eligible persons will be approved,” the spokesman said.

Singer-songwriter Seungri, real name Lee Seung-hyun (centre), arrives for a 2019 court hearing in South Korea after a sex and drugs scandal broke. Photo: EPA-EFE

The spokesman added that South Korean nationals were at present allowed to stay in the city without a visa for no more than 90 days.

Lee, 33, better known by his stage name, rocketed to fame as a member of the country’s boy band BigBang, formed by YG Entertainment in 2006.

The group achieved worldwide popularity with hit songs, including Bang Bang Bang.

But Seungri left the group after a 2019 scandal involving allegations of various illegal activities, including sex trafficking, procurement of sex workers, illegal gambling, drug use, and sharing of explicit videos.

He was convicted on several charges, including that he arranged sex trafficking for foreign investors in 2015 and that he misappropriated funds from Burning Sun, a nightclub in Seoul he was associated with.

He was released in February last year after serving 18 months behind bars.

Several recent posts written in Chinese on social media have suggested that Seungri had settled in Hong Kong and planned to start a nightclub in the city.



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