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Police raid trot star's house over suspected hit-and-run cover-up

By Lee Jaeeun

Published : May 17, 2024 - 15:46

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Singer Kim Ho-joong (Think Entertainment) Singer Kim Ho-joong (Think Entertainment)

Police raided popular trot singer Kim Ho-joong's house in Seoul on Thursday night over allegations regarding a hit-and-run accident, officials said.

According to Seoul Gangnam Police Station, investigators searched Kim's house and the home and office of Lee Kwang-deuk, the head of Kim's agency, Think Entertainment, to figure out the whereabouts of Kim and his manager following the incident.

Kim is suspected of hitting a taxi on the opposite side of the road and fleeing the scene while drunk driving around 11:40 p.m. on May 9 in Apgujeong, Gangnam, Seoul. Approximately three hours after the accident, a man in his 30s, Kim's manager, went to the police and claimed responsibility for the accident.

The 33-year-old singer reportedly did not go home immediately after the incident but went to a hotel in Gyeonggi Province, and came to the police about 17 hours later at 4:30 p.m. the next day, admitting that he was the one driving.

Earlier in the day, his agency issued a statement. Lee said in the statement that he ordered Kim's manager to make false testimony and that Kim visited a bar before the accident but was not under the influence of alcohol.

“I asked the manager to take Kim’s clothes and handle the situation on his behalf,” Lee said in the statement.

This admission suggests an attempted cover-up by the agency. His manager allegedly went to the police wearing the clothes Kim had on during the accident and claimed responsibility for the crash.

The police reportedly secured the phone used by Kim while searching Kim's house. However, the memory card found in Kim's car's black box, which the police were initially looking for as main evidence, is known to have already been damaged by the manager.

According to Think Entertainment on Friday, Kim has appointed a lawyer who previously served as acting prosecutor general but the lawyer's name is not disclosed.

Meanwhile, amid growing criticism regarding allegations, Kim maintains that all performances would proceed as scheduled.

Kim plans to hold performances for the 'Travolti Classic Arena Tour 2024' in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province and Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province on May 18 to 19 and on June 1 to 2, respectively. Furthermore, on May 23 to 24, a performance titled 'World Union Orchestra Super Classic: Kim Ho Joong & Prima Donna' is set to be held at the Olympic Park KSPO Dome, in Seoul.

Kim rose to stardom after finishing fourth in the finals of TV Chosun's hit audition show, “Mr. Trot,” in 2020.

Once an aspiring opera singer, Kim earned the nickname “Tvarotti,” which is the combination of the word “trot” and the name of legendary Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, after his dramatic rise to stardom as a trot singer.