SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- G-Dragon, leader of the K-pop boy band BIGBANG, became the subject of a big controversy Monday over using a one-bed room at a local hospital where he has been hospitalized for treating his ankle while in the military.
Earlier in the day, an online media company reported that the singer, who is currently serving his mandatory military duty, has been admitted into the "colonel" VIP room at the Armed Forces Hospital in Yangju, Gyeonggi Province. As normal soldiers use a shared room with up to eight beds, Kwon Ji-yong, the group leader's real name, is receiving special treatment from the hospital, the report said.
His agency, YG Entertainment, was quick to refute the claim. In a statement issued in the afternoon, the company said the singer is staying in the single room in order to "stop an unnecessary fuss from happening at the hospital, which is being used by many people."
"After checking with his family, the rumor is groundless and malicious. There was no special treatment for the singer, and the hospital doesn't have such a VIP room. He was hospitalized according to due procedures," his agency said.
The report also claimed that G-Dragon spent way too many days -- some 20 days -- in the hospital since he started his service on April 5 for treating a sprained ankle.
His agency said the K-pop star had been suffering from pain in his ankle and the condition was aggravated while training in the Army. He had broken bones in his ankle, and underwent surgery to remove the bone chips and have his ligament reconstructed, the company said, adding that he is currently receiving rehabilitation treatment at the hospital.
As the controversy intensifies on the Internet, the Ministry of National Defense also issued a statement to refute the claim. His using a single room is not only for the patient's care but also for the comfortable stay of other patients, it said, adding that the room can be used by any patient if necessary.
In Korea, special treatment in the military is a sensitive issue, as there have been many cases where celebrities and the offspring of the privileged use their social status and wealth to get favors.