BBC Eye Releases Documentary Centering the Women who Exposed the Burning Sun Group Chats


⚠️Trigger Warning: this article contains details of SA.

Burning Sun, a documentary by the BBC World Service’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed investigations team, BBC Eyebrings together the story of two female Korean journalists who took on the task of investigating s*x scandals involving prominent K-pop stars – and paid a high personal price.


The BBC Eye project earlier delivered a radio series “Intrigue: Burning Sun”, speaking to key players who fought to expose these crimes, and documenting the explosive fallout.  Now, TV documentary “Burning Sun – Exposing the secret K-pop chat groups” presents gripping first-person narratives from Seoul-based reporters, Park Hyo-sil and Kang Kyung-yoon, whose journalism revealed, at a huge personal cost, horrific s*x abuse committed by seemingly wholesome heartthrobs of the K-pop world. 


In September 2016, Park Hyo-sil covered the accusation by an ex girlfriend of the K-pop star Jung Joon-young – singer-songwriter in the band, Drug Restaurant, and a TV star loved by millions – of secretly recorded s*x footage. But as the girlfriend withdrew her accusations, the public turned against Park, Jung became the victim – and the media “was the villain”, Park says. “I bore the brunt of it.”


Park started receiving abusive comments online and was bombarded with emails. She started receiving phone calls in the early hours. “When I didn't answer the phone, they started sending obscene images,” she recalls. She couldn't escape. During this time she experienced two miscarriages and is still childless. While Park tried to deal with the fall-out and incessant trolling, Jung's career went from strength to strength with a European tour and new music releases.

In 2019, new allegations about Jung’s actions surfaced. In 2016, he had left his phone with a forensics company during the police investigation. Three years later, an anonymous informant with access to it decided to leak it. It reached Kang Kyung-yoon, an entertainment reporter with Korea's largest broadcaster, SBS. She was about to finish what Park had started.

The data contained Jung’s chat messages from KakaoTalk, a popular messaging app, from 2015 and 2016. “My heart still hurts when I think of that,” Kang says as she found s*xually explicit videos and images of unconscious women, which involved Jung and other male K-pop stars. Among them was Choi Jong-hoon, lead guitarist of rock band FT Island. One exchange contained details of the gang r*pe of an unconscious woman, by Jung, Choi and others. 
As Kang looked through the phone, she spotted clues which hinted at why this group felt above the law – some messages implied they were being protected by a senior police contact.

The BBC Eye documentary shows how the celebrities’ seemingly untouchable status started to unravel, and Kang’s role in this as she went to press, exposing the behaviour of the chat-group members.

In the documentary it was revealed the singer and member of group KARA, Goo Hara had played a pivotal part of the arrest of the Molka* cam group chat ring leaders by sending tips to journalists.

The arrests encouraged other victims to come forward and press charges. It took great strength as they all had seen the public turn against Jung’s girlfriend when she first reported him to the police. Their bravery lead to major court cases against the former superstars who had publicly portrayed themselves as wholesome. 

But even as justice was served, Kang, like Park, became a target for trolls. Kang's trolling began as soon as she published her stories, and continued through the court cases. It was not completely silenced by the convictions.

Kang remains hopeful that what she and Park exposed will continue to serve as a “warning about how s*x and power in the K-pop industry can corrupt”. She says: “We threw a single pebble into a huge pond… It has calmed down again but I hope it’s still there in people’s memories so that if something like that happens again, we can call it out much earlier.”

Perpetrators mentioned in the documentary by name or descriptive

*Molka cam - Hidden camera footage taken without victims consent

Jung Joon Young Choi Jong Hoon Lee Seung Hyun (Seungri) Choi Jong Beom
  • Singer
  • TV/Radio Personality
  • Former FT ISLAND guitarist 
  • Former idol friend of Goo Hara
  • Singer
  •  Entrepreneur
  •  Former Bigbang member
  • Ex Boyfriend of singer Goo Hara 
  • Hairstylist 
  • Molka cam Chats Ring Leader
  •  R*pe of drunk or unconscious women
  • Friend of Jung Joon Young
  •  Participated in Molka Chats 
  •  R*pe of drunk or unconscious women
  • Chats discovered by Goo Hara on his phone. 
  • Creative Director/Shareholder of Burning Sun club where scene of some SA crimes took place 
  • Member of Molka cam chats
  • Physically assaulted & Blackmailed Goo Hara by threatening to release intimate content.
  • 5 Years in Prison
  • 80 hours of sexual abuse education 
  • 5 year restriction around minors and disable
2 years 6 months prison  18 months in Prison reduced from 3 year initial sentence in 2021
  • 1 Year in Prison - July 2020
  • Ordered to pay restitution to Hara's family (78 million KRW) Oct. 2022

Not mentioned in documentary or charged in related cases
Lee Jong HyunYong Jun Hyung

Former CNBLUE guitarist 
  • Former Highlight member
  • Ex Boyfriend of Goo Hara (2011 - 2013) 

Was a member of Jung Joon Young's molka group chat
  • In 2019 admitted receiving a molka cam from Jung Joon Young in 2015 and didn't report it

Withdrew from  CNBLUE in August 2019
  • Withdrew from Highlight in March 2019

Burning Sun, from the BBC World Service, is available for viewing in the UK – via BBC iPlayer – and internationally, on the BBC World Service YouTube channel. The documentary is available in Korean via the BBC News Korean YouTube channel. In June 2024, it will be broadcast as a series on the BBC News TV channel.

Read the story on the BBC News website – via in the UK; and internationally – on, BBC Studios global digital news platform.

The BBC Eye investigation, Burning Sun, is produced and directed by Kai Lawrence 
Executive producers: Monica Garnsey, Mustafa Khalili, Kavita Puri
Editor: Marc Perkins

Ciera Reeves

Ciera is the founder of KpopWise. She has been a fan of Korean pop culture since 2005 and writing about it since 2009. Her bias groups are VIXX and OnlyOneOf. She is a 2nd-3rd generation K-pop fan, but she is actively keeping up with the current artists. twitter instagram

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