Choi Jong-hoon, formerly a member of the popular band FT Island, is attempting a comeback in Japan after serving a prison sentence for gang rape charges. His return, coming five years after his initial departure and two years and two months post-release, has been met with a lukewarm response from the public.
Recently, a new channel dedicated to Choi Jong-hoon was launched on Japan’s largest fan community platform, ‘FANICON’. This platform allows fans to interact with celebrities for a subscription fee of KRW 5,000. Through ‘Fanicorn’, fans can engage in conversations with their favorite stars.
In an announcement on the channel, Choi Jong-hoon expressed his gratitude
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to the fans for their support during his hiatus, stating, “I am greeting you all after about 5 years. I was able to show such a healthy appearance by gaining strength from the messages from each and every one of you. Thank you very much.”
Furthermore, Choi Jong-hoon shared his intentions for the future, saying, “From now on, I want to show you everything about me, including what I want to do and my personal life. I will work hard to create a bright future with you, so I hope you support me. I ask for your support.”
However, Choi Jong-hoon’s past involvement with the infamous ‘Jung Joon-young group chat room’ remains a significant controversy. He, along with other members including Jung Joon-young, faced indictment for gang-raping and illegally filming a woman under the influence of alcohol in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do in January 2016, and in Daegu in March of the same year.
Choi Jong-hoon was imprisoned in May 2019 under the Act on the Punishment of Violent Crimes (Special Rape) and served a term of 2 years and 6 months. He was released at the end of his term in November 2021.
In January of the following year, Choi Jong-hoon’s current engagement in church activities was revealed through a YouTube channel, marking a new chapter in his life post-incarceration. His return to the public eye, especially in Japan, continues to be a topic of debate and discussion, reflecting the complexities of celebrity comebacks after legal and moral transgressions.