'Parasite' actor Lee Sun-kyun found dead in car, sparking suicide speculation

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 27, 2023, 13:22 Updated : December 28, 2023, 09:15
Courtesy of Megabox  Plus M
[Courtesy of Megabox / Plus M]
SEOUL -- Actor Lee Sun-kyun, globally well-known for his role in the Academy Award-winning film "Parasite," directed by Bong Joon-ho, was found dead in his car after facing a series of allegations of illegal drug use. Despite three summons by law authorities for investigation, he tested negative for drugs.

According to police, the 48-year-old actor was found dead in his car at a park in Seoul's central district of Seongbuk at about 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) on December 27. The police were on search for the actor after his manager reported at about 10:12 a.m. that Lee could not be contacted after leaving home the day before, leaving a note that appeared to be a will.

When the police found the actor, he was unconscious, and a block of burnt briquet was found in Lee's car. The police identified the man as Lee and did not call an ambulance to carry him to a hospital because he was dead at the time.

South Korea's entertainment scene was engulfed in terror and shock in late October after law enforcers booked the Parasite actor and 35-year-old singer Kwon Ji-yong, well known by his stage name G-Dragon, after police obtained evidence that the two stars used drugs including marijuana. The Hallyu (Korean cultural wave) stars were investigated to be members of a private adult entertainment bar located in Seoul's southern district of Gangnam, famous for rapper Psy's 2012 global hit song "Gangnam Style."

Lee was put in front of a photo line at the Incheon Police Agency in the western port city of Incheon during his investigation. "I have handed my phone over to investigators. They said that I would be summoned for an investigation soon. I will sincerely cooperate with authorities," Lee said after the initial investigation at the Incheon Police Agency on October 29.

After his third investigation, Lee applied for a lie detector test through his legal attorney on December 26. The actor had expressed that he was being wrongfully investigated and the sole evidence which he was booked for was a statement from a hostess of the Gangnam entertainment bar.

He claimed during his second investigation that the hostess had tricked him into consuming drugs without telling the actor that they were illegal drugs. He has also filed a complaint against the hostess and two others for extortion and coercion, alleging that he was threatened and cheated out of 350 million won ($270,458) in connection with this case.
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