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(2nd LD) BIGBANG's T.O.P caught for allegedly smoking marijuana

All News 17:00 June 01, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in paras 2-8; CHANGES lead; CORRECTS rapper's age in para 2)

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- Police said Thursday they have booked T.O.P. from popular boy band BIGBANG without detention on charges of smoking marijuana multiple times in October last year.

The 29-year-old rapper is suspected of smoking the banned substance three times between Oct. 9 and 12 at his home with a 21-year-old would-be singer, identified only by her last name Han, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. It was not confirmed whether he smoked the drug habitually.

Police said they found evidence of the singer's alleged wrongdoing while investigating Han's drug abuse suspicions in March and raided T.O.P's residence. He tested positive for the drug.

During the police interrogation, T.O.P denied the allegations, saying he only smoked electronic cigarettes, they said. His accomplice, meanwhile, is known to have admitted to the suspicions raised against her.

Police sent the case to the prosecution in April, recommending indictment.

T.O.P has been serving his mandatory military duty as a police officer at the Gangnam Police Station in Seoul since February.

Under South Korean law, the use of marijuana is banned and comes with a maximum of five years in jail or a fine of up to 50 million won (US$43,300).

If the rapper receives a jail term of 18 months or more, he has to retire from his current post and re-enlist.

YG Entertainment, his management agency, confirmed police investigations and made a public apology on behalf of its artist.

"We found that T.O.P was investigated during the police service on charges of smoking marijuana before enlistment and sincerely completed all the investigation... He acknowledged most of the charges against him in the investigation process and is deeply regretting what he did," the agency said in a release. "We sincerely apologize for causing troubles," it added.

In this file photo taken on Sept. 19, 2016, T.O.P., a member of South Korean boy band BIGBANG, attends a news conference on a planned special Sotheby auction at Hotel Shilla in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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