2NE1 Singer 'No Drug Smuggler'

Park Bom Park Bom

Park Bom of girl band 2NE1 was caught trying to smuggle in amphetamine pills from abroad in 2010 but prosecutors dropped the charges.

Park is the main vocalist and one of four members of the manufactured combo, which debuted in 2009.

Prosecutors on Tuesday said customs at Incheon International Airport intercepted a consignment of 82 amphetamine pills sent by express air mail on Oct. 12, 2010. The use of amphetamines is banned in Korea, where they are classified as psychotropic drug.

Customs reported to the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, and an investigator was assigned to the case. But the investigation was halted in November that year and eventually closed.

A spokesman for the Incheon District Prosecutors' Office said, "According to the investigator's report, Park had been taking prescribed amphetamines when she was living in the U.S. and had to resort to a different kind of medication when she moved to Korea, but she suffered nausea and other side effects, so she had her prescription refilled in the U.S."

Prosecutors verified the prescription and the case was closed.

"In the U.S., amphetamines can be taken on prescription, and Park had no other history of smuggling and had no intention of selling it. She received it to treat her illness. The case was dealt with fairly in line with other similar cases," the spokesman said.

The band's agency YG Entertainment in a statement Tuesday complained that the story is old news. "Members of 2NE1 do not smoke and rarely drink alcohol, but Park Bom has been turned a drug smuggler overnight." It added Park did not know that import of the medication was banned.

It said Park was raised in the U.S. and dreamed of becoming a football player when she was young, but after witnessing her close friend die in an accident during a football match, she was traumatized and has been taken amphetamine-based medication to treat her since then.

"Park has been taking amphetamines prescribed by a doctor at a university hospital in the U.S. while getting psychiatric treatment and counseling for several years," it added.

Until 2010, Park was able to get the medicine directly in the U.S., but due to her busy schedule, she was unable to visit the U.S. often, so her mother and grandmother got the medicine on prescription and sent them to Park via air mail.

Park has been on a world tour with 2NE1 in 12 cities in nine countries. They will give two concerts in Yokohama this weekend.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 02, 2014 13:15 KST