Model Lee Ji-yeon, GLAM’s Da-hee get jail term for blackmailing Lee Byung-hun

January 14, 2015
Lee Byung-hun

Lee Byung-hun

By Tae Hong

Two women charged in a $5 million blackmailing case involving South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun, 44, were handed prison sentences Thursday in Korea, Korean media reported.

The Seoul Central District Court held the final trial of K-pop girl group member Da-hee, 20, and model Lee Ji-yeon, 24. Lee, who is currently vacationing in the U.S., was not present.

In August last year, Lee Byung-hun — who is married to actress Lee Min-jung — accused Da-hee and Lee Ji-yeon of blackmailing him for a sum of about $5 million after they threatened to release a video of a conversation held inside his home, which supposedly contained sexually suggestive content.

Da-hee told the court last year that Lee Ji-yeon and Lee Byung-hun were in a financially supportive relationship and that, when Lee Ji-yeon refused to engage in physical activities with him, the actor ended the relationship.

Da-hee and Lee were charged with attempting to blackmail the actor by the prosecutor’s office in September.

Lee Byung-hun denied he dated Lee Ji-yeon and said the three had met through a mutual acquaintance and had met socially.

The court ruled there was no proof of a relationship between Lee Byung-hun and Lee Ji-yeon. It said the blackmailing incident negatively affected Lee Byung-hun’s public image, as well as put a strain on his marriage, and gave Lee a year and two months’ prison time, and Da-hee one year.

“I apologize for causing a societal stir. I regret behaving childishly. I apologize for disappointing my family, whom I love,” Lee Ji-yeon said at the trial.

“I apologize for causing so much worry to many people. I wanted to apologize to [Lee Byung-hun] and am sorry I did not have the chance. I also want to apologize to my parents and Lee Ji-yeon’s parents,” Da-hee, a member of K-pop group GLAM, said.