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(2nd LD) T.O.P's condition stable, needs psychiatric treatment

All Headlines 18:13 June 08, 2017

(ATTN: REWRITES headline, lead; UPDATES with more details in paras 5-6; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- T.O.P, a member of boy band BIGBANG, has shown improvement after being hospitalized for an apparent drug overdose, but is still in need of psychiatric treatment, according to his family and experts Thursday.

"(His condition) has improved substantially," the singer's mother told reporters at Ewha Womans University Medical Center in western Seoul after visiting her son who is being treated in an intensive care unit.

When asked whether she made eye contact with her son, the mother answered, "Yes."

A senior police official from T.O.P's police squad, who accompanied the mother, said, "He recognized me. It seems he can communicate."

South Korean singer and actor T.O.P of boy band BIGBANG, who is serving his mandatory military service as a conscripted policeman, leaves his workplace in Seoul surrounded by reporters questioning his marijuana charges on June, 5, 2017. (Yonhap)

A hospital official said that T.O.P has gained full consciousness and his vitals have returned to normal. "We believe he will be able to leave the intensive care unit tomorrow," the official added.

Doctors have also assessed that the singer needs to have psychotherapy treatments. The hospital will decide whether he will receive the treatment at the hospital or at an outside medical institution after consulting with the family.

The 29-year-old singer-rapper, whose real name is Choi Seung-hyun, was hospitalized Tuesday from an apparent overdose of benzodiazepine, a day after he was indicted without detention on charges of smoking marijuana.

T.O.P is suspected of smoking the banned substance four times with a 21-year-old would-be singer, only identified by her surname Han, at his home in Seoul in October last year.

YG Entertainment, which represents T.O.P, apologized for the singer's marijuana scandal that sent a shock wave through fans.

"We deeply apologize to everyone who was let down and hurt by the string of disgraceful incidents involving T.O.P," YG said in a statement.

Media crew are staked out at a hospital in Seoul on June 6, 2017, where T.O.P, a member of the Asiawide popular boy band BIGBANG, is in intensive care for a suspected drug overdose. The 29-year-old rapper, whose real name is Choi Seung-hyun, was indicted a day earlier without detention on charges of smoking marijuana. (Yonhap)

"For not being able to rise up to your expectations, we will gravely acknowledge any blame," YG said, adding that it will do its best to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Choi has been serving his mandatory military service as a conscripted policeman since February. He had worked at the Gangnam Police Station in Seoul but was transferred to a different police corps in eastern Seoul following his indictment.

His military service period will be put on hold until a court reaches a verdict. If he receives a jail term of 18 months or more, he will be dishonorably discharged from the service.

All able-bodied Korean men are required to complete at least 21 months of military service before the age of 35 in South Korea.

The use of marijuana is banned in South Korea and can be punished with a maximum of five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won (US$44,640).

Singer-rapper T.O.P's mother (R) arrives at an intensive care unit of Ewha Womans University Medical Center in western Seoul on June 8, 2017, where her son is hospitalized for a drug overdose. (Yonhap)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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