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HYBE was inspected by the Anti-Corruption Commission, suspected of bribing 100 reporters because of BTS’ enlistment

On April 15, the 4th News reported that the Korean National Commission for Prevention of Corruption and Human Rights decided to carry out an inspection HYBE Labels. The reason comes from a free tour of Las Vegas, the US, which sponsors about 100 reporters. If illegal points are found, the Anti-Corruption Commission will ask the prosecutor and the police to step in.

Accordingly, HYBE Labels invited about 100 reporters from all over Korean media to watch the concert of BTS in Las Vegas, USA from April 8-9. The company covers the entire cost of the trip, including airfare, accommodation and COVID-19 testing. According to many observers, this trip is believed to be a form of HYBE bribing reporters, in order to create good public opinion on the issue of BTS’s military service.

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100 Korean reporters have been covered for travel, accommodation…

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… to go to Las Vegas, USA to see BTS’ concert

HYBE side said they did not violate the Kim Young Ran Anti-Bribery Act. A representative of the company said that after checking with the law, they determined that this trip did not violate the law. The company does not invite reporters by name, but only sends press releases. Those who want to participate must submit an application and HYBE has closed the final list.

In fact, this trip lasts 5 days and 4 nights, departing at 20:40 on April 7 at Incheon Airport. After arriving in Las Vegas, reporters were arranged to rest at the MGM Grand Hotel. On April 8, they went to see the BTS photo exhibition, the pop-up store, the US trainee audition, and the music show.water heater Bellagio plays BTS songs. During lunch, the reporters were served a set of Korean dishes that BTS loved at the restaurant Cafe in the City.

On April 9, reporters attended a meeting with HYBE staff about the project The City and BTS Permission to Dance on Stage. At 19:30 pm, 100 reporters came to watch BTS’ 2nd concert night at Allegiant Stadium. On April 10, they took a morning break, took a flight at 11 a.m. and returned to Korea at 5 a.m. on April 12.

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Reporters were allowed to stay at the luxurious MGM Grand Hotel and visit many places before going to see BTS’ concert

According to the Kim Young Ran Anti-Bribery Act, if a reporter accepts money or sponsorship items that cost more than 1 million won (VND 20 million)/time or 3 million won (VND 60 million)/year, that reporter will sentenced to 3 years in prison or 30 million won (600 million VND). The bribe giver must also receive the same sentence. Currently, it is estimated that the cost of HYBE for each reporter is at least 2 million won (40 million VND)/person.

However, the HYBE side insists their trip is within the exception of the Act. The company believes that these expenses are all “permission expenses”, within the normal range of the job, so they do not violate the Anti-Bribery Act. However, many senior lawyers disagree with the company’s explanation. According to them, round-trip airfares and hotel rentals for reporters could be interpreted as being outside the normal range. If this fee is paid by the reporter’s agency, it is not illegal. HYBE’s “normal range” in this case is just the cost of the reporter’s shuttle between the hotel and the venue.

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HYBE would be in violation of the Act if it paid for a reporter’s airfare. They are only allowed to pay for the transportation of reporters from the hotel to the concert venue

Many critics argue that the unusually large-scale media trip HYBE is supposed to create a positive public opinion when considering BTS’s military service. Currently, the members have reached the age of enlistment but the Government has not yet made an official decision whether they will enlist as normal or be exempted or perform special military service.

During a press conference at the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel, a representative of HYBE publicly stated their views on the issue of “domestic chickens” military service: “We hope that Congress will come to a conclusion amending the Dao. military service law in the shortest time. Consecutive changes make the artist’s enlistment time unpredictable. Therefore, it is difficult to plan for the members. Currently the members are entrusting work related to military service for the company. I hope the National Assembly will come to a conclusion that benefits both society and artists.”

Although the BTS members affirmed that they were always ready to perform the service, after this statement from the company, the public had a bad reaction on the issue of the group’s military service.

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Currently, the Government has not made an official decision on BTS’s military service

Source: 4th News

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