Another arrest warrant sought in South Korea for actor Yoo Ah-in over alleged drug use

SEOUL – Prosecutors filed a request for an arrest warrant on Monday for actor Yoo Ah-in on charges of illegal drug use, four months after the court rejected the police’s request for an initial warrant against him.

The department investigating violent crimes under the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it has requested that the court issue an arrest warrant for the actor, who is in his 30s.

Yoo, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sick, is suspected of breaching the country’s Narcotics Control Act, tampering with evidence and fleeing the scene of a crime.

The prosecution said the arrest warrant request was made as the actor had allegedly been habitually taking illegal narcotics and acquired such substances through what it calls “medical shopping”, where Yoo had reportedly obtained some 1,000 sleeping pills through illegal means using the names of other patients.

Yoo is also suspected of using cocaine and marijuana in January with an acquaintance, whom the prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for on the same day.

It added that Yoo is considered to have “committed serious crimes by obstructing the judicial process”, including destroying evidence and coercing witnesses to change their testimonies.

Yoo has come under fire for drug use after the police launched an investigation in late 2022 following a drug ministry report which alleged that the actor had been purchasing propofol for non-medical purposes since 2021.

The ministry has since requested that the police launch a probe into those presumed to have taken illegal drugs based on its own Narcotics Information Management System.

The system contains details regarding medical facilities that prescribe higher doses than average and those who are administered such doses.

A series of police investigations and drug test results by the National Forensic Service came out positive, which detected that the actor had used marijuana, propofol, cocaine, ketamine, zolpidem, midazolam and alprazolam.

The prosecution suspects that the actor had purchased medical narcotics worth 500 million won (S$515,000) at hospitals in Seoul.

Yoo is accused of taking over 4,000ml of propofol – a substance used to help relax or sleep before and during surgery or other medical procedures – 73 times in 2021, and had been prescribed zolpidem – a medication used for short-term treatment of sleeping problems – for non-medical purposes.

The actor has partially admitted to smoking marijuana, but insisted that he used the other drugs for medical purposes. THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK 

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