BigBang’s G-Dragon charge by Incheon police for drug-related violation – what could consequences be?

According to South Korean news media, BigBang member G-Dragon has been booked by the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency in Seoul for a drug-related violation.

The 35-year-old rapper, singer and songwriter was reportedly booked and charged with violating the Narcotics Control Act and then released while the investigation is ongoing.

As the singer is currently without an official agency after ending his 9-year-relationship with YG Entertainment in June, an agency statement about G-Dragon’s drug charge will not be forthcoming.

Instead, YG Entertainment simply said:

It is difficult to officially respond to G-Dragon’s non-detention case, as he is not an artist affiliated with our company at this time.

What do drug charges mean in South Korea?

Unlike in many western countries where drug laws have been weakened or ended completely over the last couple of decades, being charged and found guilty of a drug-related violation in South Korea is usually serious.

High sentences are often given for drug-related crimes, as officials in South Korea considers the country to be “a drug-free country”.

So strict is South Korea about drugs, its citizens are even prohibited from using illegal drugs while outside the country, and can face charges back in Korea if caught.

Illegal drugs, by the way, that are illegal in South Korea, regardless that they may be legal in the country a Korean is visiting.

As explained by Seoul Law Group, being found guilty of using drugs outside Korea can result in a several months or years prison sentence, depending on the offense.

According to Article 1 of the Narcotics Control Act the purpose of the law is to protect the general public:

The purpose of this Act is to contribute to improving the health of the general public by placing narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, marijuana, or other basic substances for such narcotics under appropriate control and handling, thus preventing the harm and danger to the public health that may arise from the misuse or abuse thereof.

Due to the implementation of the act in 2000, the number of drug-related crimes in South Korea is generally very low, and the number of drug addicts in Korea are also incredibly low compared to many other countries.

BigBang’s G-Dragon drug charge

If BigBang’s G-Dragon is found guilty of the drug-related violation he has been charged with, his punishment could also be severe.

Depending on the type of drug violation and G-Dragon’s involvement in it (stressed here — if he is found guilty), a guilty verdict could result in days, months or years in prison, as has happened to several K-pop stars in the past.

Or tens of millions of Korean won in fines. Or both.

For more information on that, Seoul Law Group has an excellent breakdown of typical sentences for standard drug-related crimes in South Korea.

Remember, of course, G-Dragon has only been charged and has not been found guilty of any crime so far.

So there really isn’t much point speculating on what the future will hold for the talented South Korean musician.

As of now, the musician is under investigation. An investigation that will ultimately determine whether a crime has occurred or not.

After all, just like in any democratic country, in South Korea a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the same holds true for G-Dragon.


About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.