Arrest warrant for actor Yoo Ah-in unnecessary, court says

Actor Yoo Ah-in leaves Mapo Police Station on Wednesday after the arrest warrant for him was dismissed. [NEWS1]

A court dismissed an arrest warrant request for actor Yoo Ah-in Wednesday night, saying the police’s reasons for filing the warrant were insufficient.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation unit filed an arrest warrant request for Yoo last Friday, citing concerns that he may tamper with evidence or leave the country.

"Yoo regrets smoking marijuana, and the charge of using cocaine is still under dispute," the court said, dismissing the warrant request at 11:30 p.m., Wednesday, more than 12 hours after the court hearing began the same day.

"It is difficult to conclude that there are fears of [Yoo] fleeing or destroying evidence [...] It is also hard to justify the reasons and the need for an arrest."

The court noted that Yoo had admitted to most of the charges against him and that most of the evidence had been collected, making his arrest unnecessary.

Yoo, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sik, is being investigated over the illegal use of five different drugs — propofol, cannabis, cocaine, ketamine and zolpidem.

Yoo returned home around 11:40 p.m. after being released from a holding cell, where he had been held.

"I don't think it is something that I can judge myself. I respect and appreciate the court's decisions," Yoo told reporters who asked whether he found the arrest warrant request too harsh as he left the police station.

"It is hard to tell the details [regarding allegations of using cocaine] to the press. I will faithfully engage in future procedures," Yoo added.

Yoo tested positive for cannabis in February when the police executed a search and seizure warrant on the actor. A detailed drug screen in March returned positive results for propofol and other illegal drugs.