Prosecutors said Wednesday that they have launched a wide-scale investigation into celebrities allegedly involved in the illegal use of the narcotic propofol.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it will summon actress Lee Seung-yeon, 44, this week for questioning over allegations she repeatedly took the drug at plastic surgery and dermatology clinics for non-medical purposes.
The office added it already questioned actress Jang Mi-in-ae, 28, as a part of the probe into celebrities who were on lists of customers it acquired from hospitals it raided. The analgesic drug is used to induce sedation and to alleviate pain during surgery.
However, rumors have spread that a number of female singers and actresses as well as hostesses working at bars have used the drug when they were stressed out or had insomnia.
A scandal rocked the country last summer when a hostess in her 20s was found dead after she was given an overdose of a cocktail of drugs including propofol by a doctor who was having an extramarital affair with her.
Lee and Jang are among the female celebrities on the lists that the prosecution confiscated in December from seven hospitals in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, one of the most affluent districts in Seoul where a number of cosmetic surgery and dermatology clinics are located.
Jang reportedly denied the allegations against her, claiming she took propofol for medical purpose only.
Lee, who was one of the most highlighted actresses in the 1990s, was not available for comment.
The prosecution, however, said they have obtained hard evidence to prove their allegations against her.
"We also have testimony from witnesses at the hospitals that they regularly visited to get the drug," an investigator said.
The prosecution also has been questioning doctors and nurses at cosmetic surgeries across the country about injecting prescription medication illegally, since summer last year.
One of the latest cases took place in October when the prosecutors arrested 10 doctors and nurses for selling propofol to hostesses in Gangnam.