Two women under investigation for blackmailing actor Lee Byung-hun

September 1, 2014

“Two women attempted to extort money from Lee Byung-hun by abusing the fact that a bad rumor would ruin the actor’s public image,” an employee of BH Entertainment reportedly said. (Newsis)

UPDATED (Yonhap) — Police sought arrest warrants Tuesday for two women in their 20s on charges of blackmailing leading actor Lee Byung-hun for millions of dollars over a video clip of the three exchanging lewd jokes.

The two women, whose identities were withheld, are accused of demanding the actor pay them 5 billion won (US $4.9 million) in exchange for not disclosing online the clip allegedly showing the three of them drinking and making sexual remarks, police said.

The video clip was recorded by the women’s smartphones at the actor’s residence sometime in end-June, according to the Gangnam Police Station probing the case.

Police said they had seized their smartphones and laptops storing the video clip and plan to hand them over to a cyber crime unit for further analysis.

Lee had reported the women on Aug. 28, police said, adding that they rounded up the two on Monday. One of the suspects, aged 21, recently made her debut as a singer, police said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Lee’s agency criticized the two suspects, saying that the alleged crime was “wicked because they abused the weakness of a public figure.”

“The two women attempted to extort money from Lee Byung-hun by abusing the fact that a bad rumor would ruin the actor’s public image,” an employee of BH Entertainment told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

Long a household name in South Korea, Lee has starred in Hollywood action films such as “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” (2013) and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009), as well as several Korean movies and dramas of different genres. More recently, he co-starred in the Hollywood blockbuster “Red 2,” starring Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

**This article has been updated.

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