After admitting to attempting to purchase illegal drugs back in 2016, K-pop star Kim Hanbin, better known as B.I., leader of the boy band iKON, announced he’s leaving the hugely popular group. According to the Dispatch report obtained by Soompi, the 22-year-old rapper tried to buy marijuana and LSD.
“It is Kim Hanbin. First of all, I apologize for the inconvenience caused by my inappropriate actions. It is true that I once wanted to rely on things that were so hard and painful that I should not even have an interest. But I was also scared and not afraid. However, I am also ashamed and sorry to all of you and the members who are greatly disappointed and hurt because of my wrong speech. I want to leave my team and humbly reflect on my mistakes. I apologize once again for your heartfelt sympathy to your fans and members. Sorry.”
The Punishment for Drug Offenses in South Korea Are Severe
The group’s management company, YG Entertainment, confirmed the singer was leaving iKON. In a statement release they said, “We take the issue very seriously and decided that he leaves the band and we end his contract.”
If convicted, there could be serious consequences for B.I. In South Korea, drug offenses can carry sentences of between six months and four years in prison.
Some Fans Think the Band’s Management Could Have Done More to Help Hanbin
The response from his fans to the news of B.I.’s departure was of complete sadness. Many believe the group will never be the same without him, while others hope he’s holding up okay in the midst of all this drama. Some fans are blaming YG for not taking better care of their star artist.
Before becoming the group’s leader, B.I. had been a YG trainee since the age of 12, and was featured on M.C. Mong’s 2009 track “Indian Boy.” He’s credited for producing and composing many of iKON’s songs, and in 2018, B.I. won the Songwriter of the Year Award at the 10th Melon Music Awards for the single, “Love Scenario,” from their second full-length studio album Return. He also had a key role in producing all the songs from iKON’s first album in 2015, Welcome Back.
Without Hanbin, the group, which officially debuted in 2015, will be down to only 6 members: Bobby, Jay, Ju-ne, Song, DK and Chan.