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​Court dismisses arrest warrant for actor Yoo Ah-in over drug use

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 25, 2023, 02:32 Updated : May 25, 2023, 21:45

[Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL -- A South Korean court has dismissed an arrest warrant for Yoo Ah-in, a promising actor on charges of drug use. Prosecutors have requested the warrant on suspicion of five illegal drugs including cocaine, propofol, a powerful anesthetic, and zolpidem, a sedative primarily used for the treatment of insomnia.
 
"It is difficult to conclude that there is apprehension for the suspect of destroying evidence or fleeing beyond the scope of his right to defend himself," Lee Min-soo, a senior judge in charge of warrants at the Seoul Central District Court, said on May 24. Lee mentioned that the court has already secured a lot of evidence related to Yoo's criminal activities and the actor is reflecting on himself regarding smoking marijuana. However, the judge said it is debatable whether Yoo has used cocaine.  
 
The South Korean actor has earlier told reporters that he admits most of his allegations. However, Yoo denied that he has tried to help his accomplice escape. Prior to the prosecutors' request to the court, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency applied for an arrest warrant for Yoo and his accomplice, citing concerns over the destruction of evidence and escape.
 
The celebrity is suspected of taking five different drugs for nonmedical purposes -- marijuana, propofol, cocaine, ketamine, and zolpidem. The actor has been under investigation after a state health watchdog reported that he has been consistently using propofol since 2021. The police claimed that Yoo has administered propofol more than 70 times from January 2021 to December 2021.
 
Yoo has appeared in many successful films including "Veteran," a 2015 film where he garnered explosive popularity for playing a wealthy entrepreneur's son who frequently consumes drugs. He also played ill-fated Crown Prince Sado (1735~1762) who is known to have starved to death by his father King Yeongjo (1694~1776), in a historical film "The Throne."
 
Amid the police investigation, two Netflix series starring Yoo -- "The Match" and "Goodbye Earth" -- were postponed. The two shows were set to release in 2023. The Match portrays a match between a Go master, played by actor Lee Byung-hun, and his student, played by Yoo. Go is a board game that had been popular for centuries in Korea, China, and Japan. Goodbye Earth is about people going through different struggles just before the apocalypse.

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