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Police expand propofol investigation

The police are focusing on investigations over a surgeon and two nurses of a cosmetic clinic in Seoul as they are suspected of having administered an addictive drug to Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said this week that it was looking into the three medical staff who are accused of having administered propofol to Lee for non-medical purposes.

We are questioning the surgeon and nurses and it will take some time,” said a police officer surnamed Kang who leads the probe.

After finishing the process, we will determine whether or not we will book Lee. For now, we are not sure when the decision will be made.”

In March, a local media outlet reported that Lee had been given propofol shots for recreational purposes in 2016, which prompted police to raid the clinic and book its surgeon.

Earlier this month, two nurses were also booked with regard to the attention-grabbing case. Some interpret this as negative news for Lee because the police keep expanding investigation.

Lee was accused of having taken propofol shots for non-medical purposes at least twice a month from January to October in 2016.

The eldest daughter of Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee denied the accusation. The Samsung heiress admitted that she visited the hospital at issue but claimed it was for legitimate treatment.

Because propofol is classified as a psychotropic drug here, it is illegal to prescribe or consume the agent for recreational purposes.

If the propofol scandal proves to be true, hence, the 49-year-old would be subject to criminal charges.

As a business leader, Lee has shown her competency _ Hotel Shilla has recorded a fast growth under her leadership. Its annual turnover approaches $5 billion.

But the propofol scandal puts the reputation of the billionaire businesswoman at risk. In the past, Korean entertainers saw their popularity wane as they were involved in propofol scandals.


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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.