A new, mysterious figure has arisen in the Korean industry, one who is known for controlling the media, politicians, and basically everything in Korea. She goes by the name of Madame Shim, and she is considered one of the most powerful women in all of Korea, due to her connections with politicians, celebrities, news outlets, and CEO’s. She uses her wide range of connections to protect who she needs to, most recently shown in with the Burning Sun and the Seungri Scandal surfacing at the same time as Jang Ja Yeon‘s case was supposed to come to a close.
1. Background on Madame Shim
Shim Mi Young, who goes by the names Shim Min Ji or Madame Shim, is the founder and CEO of the luxury fashion brand L’inoui. However this is not what her claim to fame is. She is known to be a broker for prostituting rookie and aspiring actresses to wealthy VIP’s, as well as facilitating a gambling ring for these VIPs, who are trying to avoid getting caught by authorities.
Her “side hustle” was running an underground business known as “10 Percent”. This was a ring where adult entertainment call girls were provided to celebrities, politicians, and company CEO’s. With this, she built up a huge list of personal connections, but even with the connections, she was unable to avoid punishment, receiving a hefty fine in 2008 for gambling.
She would take some of her “10 Percent” girls and a few female celebrities, and host an entire day of fun for 2nd generation heirs of chaebol families. A typical day would include golf in the morning, a visit to the casino in the afternoon, and a party filled with drugs and sex at night.
Following her fines in 2008, she decided to launch the brand L’inoui. She also decided to start moving houses every 2 years, and it is said that the interior of her homes looked just like a room salon or a hotel.
L’inoui is considered one of the more luxurious brands in Korea, yet not many people have heard of it. However, famous celebrities such as Jang Keun Suk, Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Jong Suk, Hyun Bin, Kim Jae Won, and more were seen carrying the brand’s bags. In addition, Jang Keun Suk was reportedly seen with Madam Shim in her Rolls Royce in June 2012.
2. Connections with various figures in Entertainment, who all committed suicide.
Madame Shim is linked to all of these deaths due to her connections with entertainment industry CEO’s, especially with some who were on Jang Ja Yeon‘s list. There is growing suspicion that these cases are not all suicides, but in fact murders, covered up as suicides.
Choi Jin Sil and Cho Sung Min
Choi Jin Sil was considered one of Korea’s top actresses in the early 2000’s, and her marriage to then-baseball player Cho Sung Min was considered one of the biggest stories at the time. However, the couple divorced in 2004 after claiming that they were unfaithful to each other.
Madame Shim was the cause of their divorce. She was the reason there were claims of unfaithfulness. Baseball players would gamble at Madame Shim’s home, and it is believed that they met there. Cho Sung Min had an affair with Madame Shim. The two married, but later split up.
Madame Shim and Cho Sung Min never officially registered their divorce, so legally, they were still married at the time of Cho Sung Min’s death. She did not attend his funeral, as she was on vacation in Hawaii at the time. Both Choi Jin Sil and Cho Sung Min committed suicide. Choi Jin Shil committed suicide in 2008, and Cho Sung Min in 2013.
Jang Ja Yeon
Prior to her suicide in 2009, Jang Ja Yeon had told one of her friends that wanted to kill her CEO. She was preparing a lawsuit against her agency at the time of her death. During the investigation of her death, much of the CCTV evidence ended up disposed of, prompting the question of whether it was purposefully destroyed by police. During the investigations, the police also discovered her notebook, containing a list of high-profile industry executives that she stated she was forced to have sex with. However the police have suppressed this full list from being revealed.
U:NEE and Jeong Da Bin
U:NEE and Jeong Da Bin both committed suicide in 2007. They were both also in the same agency as Choi Jin Shil and Jang Ja Yeon. Jeong Da Bin left her final message to the world on her Cyworld page, but no suicide note was discovered for any of the 4 celebrities. This raises concerns how all 4 celebrities, who were in the same agency, did not leave a suicide note.
Jang Ja Yeon’s agency was The Contents Entertainment. Choi Jin Sil and Jeong Da Bin were in Stars Entertainment. U:NEE was signed under Olive Nine. In reality, The Contents Entertainment was the managing body overseeing Stars Entertainment while Olive Nine was merged with The Contents Entertainment. They were essentially all in the same agency.
Choi Jin Young (Choi Jin Sil’s brother)
Choi Jin Young carried his sister’s portrait during the funeral procession, and was a famous singer and actor in the 1990’s. However, after his sister’s suicide, he fell into depression and attempted suicide several times, before his final attempt in 2010. He committed suicide the same way as his sister.
Kim Ji Hoon
Kim Ji Hoon was a close friend of Jang Ja Yeon and a member of groups Two Two and Duke. He held her portrait during her funeral procession, and raised suspicions that she was forced to have sex with the various executives. After raising the suspicions, he was accused of using drugs and forced into retirement. He later became depressed and ultimately committed suicide.
Police Officer Lee Yong Joon (non-celebrity)
Lee Yong Joon was investigating the adult entertainment industry in Gangnam, including prostitution and sex trafficking when his body was discovered in a reservoir in an apparent suicide. The police refused to re-investigate his death. His father submitted a petition for re-investigation, but the results from that were also covered up. Moreover, Lee Yong Joon worked in the Gangnam Yeoksam district, the same area where the Burning Sun scandal started.
3. Flexing her power
When Madame Shim was being investigated for running a gambling ring in 2008, she was revealed to have been providing gambling funds to people who gambled at her house, as well as charging a 10% interest on any loans she gave. However, she got off with just a fine due to soliciting sexual favors to the investigators.
On April 4, 2012, Madame Shim opened her flagship L’inoui store in Apgujeong, Seoul. She was able to get numerous A-list celebrities to attend the opening, including Jang Dong Gun, Jang Keun Suk, Son Dam Bi, Ha Ji Won, and Jang Hyuk.
Lee Jonghyun also attended L’inoui’s opening with CNBLUE‘s Jung Yonghwa. Just 2 months later, Lee Jonghyun was cast as Jang Dong Gun’s son in SBS‘s drama A Gentleman’s Dignity. It is believed that Madame Shim used her connections in the industry to land Lee Jonghyun his role in the drama, as Lee Jonghyun did not have the popularity at the time, nor was an experienced actor.
4. Connections with Dispatch and the media
Madame Shim and Dispatch are heavily involved with each other. Dispatch has consistently promoted L’inoui with articles about their new stores, celebrities attending their events, or wearing their bags. In exchange, Madame Shim uses her network of connections to provide Dispatch with their breaking celebrity news.
In the months following Jang Ja Yeon’s suicide, multiple celebrity drug cases surfaced, including accusations against Ju Ji Hoon and Yoon Seol Hee. Ju Ji Hoon was rising in popularity at the time, and admitted to using ecstasy, receiving probation and a fine. These drug cases were an attempt to cover up the Jang Ja Yeon incident.
10 years later, with the re-investigation of Jang Ja Yeon’s case, a new scandal has surfaced to cover it up. The Seungri Scandal. The statue of limitations was set to expire on Jang Ja Yeon’s case, leading to Madame Shim protecting her VIP executives. President Moon Jae In announced that Jang Ja Yeon’s case would get an extension and a full investigation on March 20, 2019. Just days later, Seungri gave an extensive interview after staying quiet for months.
Madame Shim is known to have heavy influence within the media. No articles about her are on Korean search portals, and attempts to search any of the names she is known for turns up with very little information.