AFP

SEOUL-Three South Korean actresses have been handed suspended jail terms for abusing propofol, a short-acting sedative and anesthetic blamed in the death of US pop icon Michael Jackson, a court official said Tuesday.

Park Si-Yeon, Lee Seung-Yeon and Jang Mi-In-Ae were charged in March with taking the prescription drug for “non-medical purposes.” All three were found guilty by the Seoul Central District Court on Monday and received eight-month prison terms - suspended for two years, the court spokesman told AFP. Propofol is a powerful sedative used as a general anesthetic. It reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation but may cause a person to experience hallucinations.

South Korea classified the drug as a psychotropic medicine two years ago, making it illegal to prescribe or consume other than for stipulated treatments that may need anesthesia, such as a gastro-intestinal endoscopy.

Park, a top actress who has appeared in many TV shows and movies, received the so-called “milk shot” containing the creamy-colored propofol 185 times from February 2011 to last December. As well as the suspended prison term, she was fined 3.7 million won ($3,490).  Lee, a prominent actress and a TV talk show host, received 111 injections during the same period, and fellow actress Jang took 95 shots in 2011 and 2012. The two also received fines of 4 million won and 5.5 million, respectively.  All three had pleaded not guilty, arguing they had received the injections for treatments.