(2nd LD) Police seek arrest warrant for popera star Kim Ho-joong over DUI hit-and-run

Police sought a warrant Wednesday to arrest popera star Kim Ho-joong, a day after questioning him over suspicions that he rammed into a taxi and fled the scene while driving under the influence. The Seoul Central District Court will hold a session to review whether to issue the arrest warrant around noon on Friday, according to court officials. The 33-year-old singer, who rose to stardom after appearing on the audition show "Mr. Trot," allegedly crashed into a stationary taxi in the opposite lane with his vehicle late on the night of May 9 in Seoul's southern Gangnam district while driving drunk. He then left the scene without taking post-accident measures. The Seoul Gangnam Police Station applied for arrest warrants for Kim on charges of reckless driving resulting in injuries and fleeing the scene, along with the head of Kim's management agency and another agency official on charges of instigating Kim's flight and destroying evidence. Police decided to seek warrants, concluding that Kim and the others m ight destroy evidence or flee. Police are also considering bringing drunk driving charges against Kim after completing their assessment of his blood alcohol level at the time of the accident using CCTV footage and other materials. During his questioning the previous day, Kim reportedly claimed to have consumed about two glasses of beer mixed with soju and about four separate shots of soju, denying that he was fully intoxicated. The popera singer came under public fury after it was reported that his manager initially lied to the police that he was behind the wheel at the time of the accident and that Kim appeared before the police 17 hours after the accident, apparently to evade a blood alcohol test. The official at Think Entertainment, Kim's agency, reportedly told the police during recent questioning that he had swallowed the black box memory card of Kim's vehicle. Even after Kim's Tuesday police questioning ended after three hours in the afternoon, he stayed there for six more hours, complaining about the presence of reporters outside, and eventually returned home late at night. Despite the ongoing police investigation, Kim remains adamant about proceeding with his upcoming music concert, slated for Thursday and Friday. But in light of the schedule for the court session to review the arrest warrant, Kim would not be able to hold the musical performance set for Friday. He will suspend all planned activities following the two-day concert and will have time to look back on his misconduct. And Kim and his agency will fully cooperate with the police investigation and won't avoid any punishment, Think Entertainment said in a statement. Drunk driving resulting in injuries is punishable by one to 15 years of imprisonment or a fine between 10 million won (US$7,339) and 30 million won. Source: Yonhap News Agency