Jang Ja-yeon was found hanged to death at her home
in the Bundang district of Seongnam,
Gyeonggi province, on 7 March 2009. During a phone call at 3:30 p.m. that afternoon,
Jang had complained to her sister about the “overwhelming stress” she was under,
saying that she “wants to die”.
Having later been unable to reach her on the phone,
Jang’s sister returned to their shared home at 7:42 p.m. to find her body hanging from the stairway banister.
A police investigation concluded that her death was a suicide,
and found no evidence of foul play.
Jang is believed to have killed herself at around 4:30 p.m.
An alleged suicide note left by Jang describes how she was beaten
and forced to entertain and have sex with several program directors,
CEOs and media executives, causing considerable debate about relations in the entertainment industry,
as well as a police probe into her management agency.
According to South Korean reports, Jang claimed that her agent
Kim Sung-hoon had regularly beaten her and forced her to have sex with a string of VIPs,
including directors, media executives and CEOs.
Kim Sung-hoon, who was in Japan, denied the accusations.
The former manager of Jang’s management agency, Kim Sung-hoon, was arrested in Tokyo in June 2009 for overstaying his visa.
Korean police requested Kim’s extradition on a warrant related to Jang’s death. Kim at the time of his arrest stated that he
“committed a crime in South Korea and overstayed in Japan to avoid being arrested.”
20 figures were investigated b the police,
resulting in 7 prosecutions. Kim was sentenced to one year in jail, two years of probation and 160 hours of volunteer work.
Approximately 250,000 fans visited Jang’s website on the day of her death to express their condolences, with a further 700,000 the following day, while the entire cast of Boys Over Flowers paid their last respects at the mourning hall set up at the Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang.Jang’s funeral was held there on 9 March, and was attended by family, friends and fellow actors, including lead Koo Hye-seon. Her cremated remains are to be buried next to her parents in Jeongeup, North Jeolla province.