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Singer Kim Ho-joong awaits court decision on arrest warrant for DUI, hit-and-run

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : May 24, 2024 - 16:48

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Singer Kim Ho-joong leaves the Seoul Central District Court building located in Seocho-gu, Seoul, after attending the court hearing to determine whether to issue his arrest warrant, Friday. (Yonhap) Singer Kim Ho-joong leaves the Seoul Central District Court building located in Seocho-gu, Seoul, after attending the court hearing to determine whether to issue his arrest warrant, Friday. (Yonhap)

Singer Kim Ho-joong, who is accused of committing a hit-and-run accident while driving under the influence, appeared at the Seoul Central District Court in Seocho-gu, Seoul, for a court hearing to determine whether to issue his arrest warrant, Friday.

Kim arrived at the Seoul Central District Court at around 11 a.m. after the court rejected his request to postpone the hearing on Thursday due to a scheduled concert at the KSPO Dome in Seoul Olympic Park.

The show's organizer, Dumir, confirmed that Kim will not take the stage for the concert, and promised a full refund to ticketholders.

Friday's concert was the second part of Kim's two-day concert scheduled for Thursday and Friday, titled "World Union Orchestra Super Classic: Kim Ho-joong & Prima Donna." On Thursday, he took the stage in front of some 7,000 fans as planned, although the duet performance with Russian soprano Aida Garifullina did not occur. According to the official program book, Kim and Garifullina were supposed to sing three songs together.

Friday's hearing lasted approximately 50 minutes, after which Kim, with his hands bound, was escorted into a police vehicle. Alongside Kim, Lee Kwang-deuk, the CEO of Kim's agency Think Entertainment, and the agency's executive Jeon also attended their respective arrest hearings under the same charge of concealing a crime.

The three suspects were then taken to Gangnam Police Station, where they will await the court's final decision on their detention.

On May 9, at around 11:40 p.m., Kim hit a taxi on a road in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, and fled the scene. Three hours later, Kim's manager, who switched the clothes with Kim, falsely turned himself in to the police. Kim himself appeared at the police station 17 hours after the accident.

Kim initially denied that he had driven under the influence, claiming that his panic disorder prevented him from dealing with the accident. He went ahead with his scheduled concerts amid criticism, and 10 days after the accident, on May 19, he admitted to the charges.

Think Entertainment CEO Lee allegedly instructed the manager to falsely turn himself in instead of Kim while agency executive Jeon allegedly destroyed the evidence and aided Kim in fleeing the accident site.

The police requested the court to ban Kim and related agency officials from leaving the country, and the Ministry of Justice approved the requests.

According to local news media, Kim has refused to hand over his phone to the police and did not provide the password.

The 33-year-old popera singer gained huge popularity after appearing on the audition program “Mr. Trot” in 2020 and has been actively performing in concerts and other events since.