On August 27 KST, an exclusive report from a Korean media outlet Daekyung Ilbo claimed that actresses Son Dam Bi and Jung Ryeo Won have both received luxurious gifts from Mr. Kim—better known to Koreans as the con artist “Fake Fisherman.”
Mr. Kim Tae Woo, a 43-year-old male, has been found guilty of an investment scam between June 2018 to January 2021. To the victims, Mr. Kim introduced himself as a wealthy inheritor who owns dozens of fishing vessels in his hometown of Pohang city. He conned an estimated total of ₩11.6 billion KRW (about $9.98 million USD) from seven investors who believed in his “fresh frozen squid” business—hence his nickname the Fake Fisherman.
It was later revealed following the police investigation that Mr. Kim aspired to become a politician. With the money he scammed from the investors, Mr. Kim supplied luxurious gifts to Korean politicians—hoping to make good connections that would eventually help him become the assembly member representing the legislative constituency of Pohang city. By April 2021, Mr. Kim got arrested.
The latest Daekyung Ilbo report claimed that prior to his arrest, Mr. Kim spent the invested money on not only politicians but also female celebrities like Son Dam Bi and Jung Ryeo Won. According to the report, Mr. Kim first saw Son Dam Bi in 2019 when she took on the role of Choi Hyang Mi for the K-Drama When The Camellia Blooms. Referring to her as his “ideal type of woman,” Mr. Kim tried to appeal himself to Son Dam Bi by sending coffee and snacks to the production team.
The exclusive report insisted that Son Dam Bi soon grew close to Mr. Kim—enough to receive a Porsche, a Piat, a Hermes bag, along with other luxurious gifts from brands like Prada, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton. The report even included a picture of the list of gifts that Mr. Kim had given Son Dam Bi.
Reportedly, Mr. Kim also paid off Son Dam Bi’s personal debt of ₩50.0 million KRW (about $43,000 USD) to her best friend and actress Jung Ryeo Won. The report unveiled that Jung Ryeo Won received a Mini Cooper as a gift from Mr. Kim as well.
As the report sparked online curiosity over Son Dam Bi and Jung Ryeo Won’s relationship with the criminal Mr. Kim, their agency H& Entertainment stepped forward and firmly denied all speculations around the two actresses. The agency clarified, “Son Dam Bi has never received any of the gifts listed by Mr. Kim” and that everything ever sent by Mr. Kim had been returned to Mr. Kim.
Hello, this is H& Entertainment. We apologize that we have to share this unfortunate announcement with everyone when we could all use good news instead. But we hereby issue this announcement to clarify some of the rumors going around about our managing actresses, Son Dam Bi and Jung Ryeo Won.
First off, it is true that Mr. Kim the Fake Fisherman approached the K-Drama set back in 2019. When Son Dam Bi was shooting the series in Pohang city, Mr. Kim visited the shoot—claiming to be her fan and providing snacks and drinks.
Starting then, Mr. Kim has continuously courted Son Dam Bi by showering her with gifts. However, Son Dam Bi has never accepted any of his offerings (including cash and luxury gifts). Everything has been returned to Mr. Kim each time. Please note that Son Dam Bi has nothing to do with Mr. Kim’s criminal activity.
— H& Entertainment
The agency also clarified that while it is true that Jung Ryeo Won owns a Mini Cooper, it has been purchased with the actress’s money.
Also, it is not true that Mr. Kim purchased a vehicle for Jung Ryeo Won.
Jung Ryeo Won’s Mini Cooper is a used vehicle which she purchased with her own money. At a gathering with both Jung Ryeo Won and Mr. Kim present, Mr. Kim claimed that he knows a used car dealer he could introduce to Jung Ryeo Won. As she had been looking into getting a new car, Jung Ryeo Won asked Mr. Kim about the specific make and model and whether his connection would be able to supply it. Mr. Kim claimed that his younger brother owns a used car dealership and that he can help her buy what she wants.
Jung Ryeo Won wired the money to Mr. Kim and received her Mini Cooper. Please see the proof of transaction provided to show that Jung Ryeo Won paid for her vehicle.
— H& Entertainment
Regarding the malicious speculations of possible “sponsorship” circulating online, mainly to have been fueled by the controversial YouTube channel run by reporter Kim Yong Ho, the agency warned legal action.
Previously, in an accusatory video, Kim Yong Ho insisted that Mr. Kim and Son Dam Bi had been involved in a romantic relationship until their recent break-up.
Both Son Dam Bi and Jung Ryeo Won are currently battling an increase of rumors about themselves. The spread of unverifiable information online is causing them great stress and damaging their reputations.
Hence, we as the agency will pursue legal action against all malicious online posts and comments. To protect the actresses, H& Entertainment will have zero tolerance for rumors. Thank you.
— H& Entertainment