SM Issues Statement After BoA And Staff Questioned Over Medicine Importation Without Following Procedure

SM Entertainment has issued a statement after it was reported that BoA and a staff member had been questioned by the prosecution on suspicions of bringing psychotropic drugs into Korea without following official importation procedures.

On December 17, SBS’s “8 O’Clock News” reported that Korean Wave star “A” was questioned by the prosecution the previous day on suspicions of secretly bringing in psychotropic drugs including Zolpidem (a medication usually used for sleeping problems) from overseas. The report stated that “A” received a prescription for psychotropic drugs in Japan through an employee of their agency’s Japanese branch. It was described that the drugs had been found during a customs search when they were being brought into Korea under a Korean employee’s name. The report states that the prosecution will decide whether to make an indictment after considering factors such as whether they had been intentionally smuggling the medicine.

After this, SM Entertainment released a statement that confirmed that the report was referring to BoA, explaining that this had occurred due to a staff member’s mistake.

The statement is as follows:

Hello. This is SM Entertainment.

We are sharing our agency’s statement regarding the content of the report today related to our artist BoA.

This occurred due to a mistake by an employee at our agency’s overseas branch who had no knowledge about trade or customs clearance operations, and so first off we express our sincere apologies to fans and everyone who had been caused concern over this.

It is true that the employee from the overseas branch shipped the medicine through the mail without following formal customs clearance procedures. However, they were not intending to bring them in illegally; it was a mistake made due to ignorance. We will explain the details.

BoA recently received a physical examination and she was told by the doctor that due to a decrease in growth hormone, she requires sufficient sleep. On the advice of her doctor, she took prescribed sleeping pills. However, she experienced severe side effects such as dizziness and indigestion including vomiting, and this situation was spoken about with the employee.

The employee, who had lived together with BoA during the period of her Japanese promotions, was worried about BoA’s health. They recalled that BoA had not had any side effects in the past when she took medicine that had been prescribed to her in Japan for a sleeping disorder due to difficulties she experienced adjusting to the time difference as she was going back and forth between Japan and the United States while she was entering the American market. As receipt by a proxy is possible in this situation due to COVID-19, they received confirmation from a local hospital and received the medicine by following normal procedures.

The employee received confirmation from a local post office that they could ship medicine from Korea to Japan if they included documents such as ingredients information. However, they sent the medicine to Korea while including the ingredients information unaware that even medicine that had been received as normal by prescription overseas could become a problem in Korea.

As they did not know about practical details or procedures of customs clearance or trade, they were not at all aware that a government agency’s permission must be received for the handling and importation of medicine, and that even those that receive permission must make a declaration and obtain permission before importation. Without being aware of the problem, they made the mistake of sending the medicine after only hearing from the local post office that they could send the medicine overseas if they included ingredient information.

After recently being contacted by an investigative agency, the employee learned of their mistake. They actively cooperated with the investigative agency and were investigated regarding this matter, and they promised to never make the same mistake again.

During the investigation process, they brought up first that the medicine was sent to BoA and sincerely explained with the facts and evidence, and we share that BoA, who was investigated as well, also sincerely took part in the investigation.

Our agency plans to enhance multifaceted education for all our employees, so that this does not happen again. BoA also feels sorry that many people have been inconvenienced due to this issue.

Once again, we sincerely apologize for causing concern.

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