jakub | January 12, 2024

Bong Joon-ho, South Korean creatives call for probe into Lee Sun-kyun’s death


Parasite director Bong Joon-ho and several South Korean creatives have called for a probe into the circumstances behind renowned actor Lee Sun-kyun’s death.

Last month, the 48-year-old actor was found dead in an apparent suicide. At the time of his death, Lee had been undergoing a highly publicised investigation by South Korean police on suspicions of drug use.

Earlier this week, the newly established Association of Solidarity of Cultural Artists released a statement calling for an investigation into Lee’s death, per The Korea Herald. It also urged authorities to “revise the law to protect the human rights of artists” to prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future.

The association held a press conference earlier today (January 12), led by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, who worked with the actor on the award-winning film. Other prominent creatives who spoke at the event include singer-songwriter and Mystic Story CEO Yoon Jong-shin, veteran actor Choi Deok-moon and Choi Jeong-hwa, the head of the Producers Guild of Korea.

“I demand that the authorities investigate. We demand that the police investigate whether there was any lapse in the security of the investigation from the moment the details of the deceased’s investigation were first exposed until two months later,” said Bong, as reported by Variety. “We want to know if there was no individual media contact during the investigation, and we want the results to be made public so that there is no doubt,”

“His three police appearances, from the simple reagent test to the negative test, were broadcast live to the media,” the director added. “Recordings of his incriminating statements were released to the media and public, and he made the tragic choice to end his life after a third 19-hour police summons.”

Meanwhile, Yoon said: “We hope that such a tragedy will not happen again in the process of investigating pop culture artists. This is the demand of the cultural and artistic community facing the death of the late Lee Sun-kyun.”

Investigations into Lee’s alleged drug use began in October 2023, and quickly became the subject of media and online commentary in the months leading up to his passing. Days prior to his death, the actor was spotted returning home after undergoing a 19-hour round of police questioning.

Lee was reportedly found dead in a car on December 27 with a charcoal briquette in the passenger seat and had allegedly written a memo “akin to a suicide note” prior to the discovery. He was not taken to a hospital as he was “pronounced dead” at the scene, per Yonhap News Agency.





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