After triggering one of the hottest celebrity issues of 2010, TV personality Shin Jung-hwan is back in Korea.
Shin arrived at the Gimpo Airport in Seoul from Haneda, Japan on January 19th at 10:54 AM. It's been 146 days -- or roughly five months -- since he first left for the Philippines last August 27th.
After coming out and giving the 100+ reporters a brief photo opportunity, he quickly rushed out to meet the police who were waiting for him. He did make it a point to give a 90 degree boy to the reporters while saying the simple yet straightforward words: I'm sorry. He was able to say much more before he was pulled away by the cops to get into a police car waiting outside. Reporters noted that Shins face looked gaunt with a slight 5 o'clock shadow.?On a side note, despite earlier released reports of Shin having to get a metal pin in his leg from a biking accident during his time away, he seemed to be walking fine, even carrying a backpack on his own.
Not to anyone's surprise, there were press members waiting for Shin's arrival from the early dawn hours at the airport. After having caused an uproar for gambling and then lying about it a few months back, Shin became the talk of all media outlets. Police officers were standing by for safety measures. It was a good thing too as there were reports of physical fights breaking out.
Last August, Shin gambled hundreds of millions of won playing baccarat at the Waterfront Hotel Casino in Cebu, Philippines. He overstayed his visit abroad to avoid question in his home country where gambling is illegal. He even missed a TV recording without giving prior notice. He then made up an excuse, claiming to have been sick with Dengue fever. When reports surfaced that this was not true and that he had fabricated the story -- and related pictures to boot -- the public was not pleased. Despite the coaxing of his close friends and family for him to come home, he went from country to country in avoidance. He left the Philippines for Hong Kong, Nepal, and most recently Japan before returning to Korea.
Before his 12:30 questioning at the Seoul Police Station, he publicly addressed the issue for the first time and he expressed his regret over the incident. He stated that he was willing to accept whatever punishment given to him. As of the evening of the 19th, Shin was held in custody for over eight hours. Sources said that he had admitted to gambling and that further details, along with the final verdict, would be released the next morning.
According to Korean law, if sentenced guilty of gambling abroad, Shin is looking at up to three years in prison or paying a fine of up to 20 million won.