Court dismisses arrest warrant request for Yoo Ah-in over drug use for second time

Yoo Ah-in attends a court hearing on Thursday after prosecutors filed a request for an arrest warrant for him on Monday. [YONHAP]

A Seoul court on Thursday dismissed an arrest warrant request for Yoo Ah-in, an actor charged with illegal drug use, for the second time.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office filed an arrest warrant for Yoo on Monday, alleging he tried to hide evidence of his drug use and forced others to smoke marijuana.

Yoo is indicted on charges of illegal use of seven different drugs: propofol, marijuana, ketamine, cocaine, midazolam and alprazolam.

The Seoul Central District Court dismissed the request Thursday, saying the need to put Yoo under detention is "insufficient" at this stage as "[Yoo] admitted to his crimes of smoking marijuana, and [the court] has a significant amount of relevant evidence already collected."

As for using and forcing others to smoke marijuana, the court said, "While there are possibilities of Yoo having offered accomplice [surnamed] Kim to smoke marijuana, whether it was in a level of instigation, is still disputable."

Kim is a YouTuber who allegedly smoked marijuana with Yoo.

The court said it considered the fact that Yoo is not a repeat offender and that he has been cooperative with investigative authorities. It also found that Yoo has a low chance of fleeing.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency's drug investigation unit first filed an arrest warrant request back in May, citing concerns that he may tamper with evidence or leave the country. The court dismissed the request, saying the police's reasons for filing the warrant were insufficient.

Yoo, whose real name is Uhm Hong-sik, 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.