Thursday, March 8, 2012

K-pop singers and stalker fans

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin 

MANILA, Philippines – Just days before they were to do a concert in Peru and Chile, members of boy band JYJ were swept into an issue involving the so-called “sasaeng,” stalker fans who follow Korean stars 24/7, harass them and invade their privacy.
JYJ: victims of sasaeng fans (

Actor and singer Jang Geun Suk also fell victim to sasaeng fans (
News articles and audio files, which were reportedly recorded by sasaeng people back in 2009 when the three were still with boy band TVXQ, were uploaded on Korean websites alleging that two JYJ members cursed and hit these “fans” out of exasperation of being constantly stalked.
These sasaeng people follow their idols wherever they go, from studios to their homes where they stay until late. Some sneak in to the apartments or homes of Korean stars and take pictures.
They are different from regular K-pop fans as they go to the extreme by stalking stars.
In the case of TVXQ/JYJ, according to forums, these sasaeng people hire taxis for as much as $800 just to follow their idols wherever they go. There were instances when these taxi-riding sasaeng people caused accidents involving the stars, according to fan accounts.
They know the stars’ cell phone numbers, their private residences and even their schedule for the day.
According to a summary posted by TVXQ/JYJ fans, there are about 150 sasaeng people, called “privates” who stalk the stars.
A fan posted on a forum on Soompi the alleged wrongdoings of these sasaeng people against TVXQ.
Among them were that a sasaeng used the Social Security Number of Yoochun to register at an internet café, broke into the dormitory of TVXQ, groped the idols, and hurt them.
Many Korean stars have their own set of stalker fans.
In October last year, actor and singer Jang Geun Suk posted on Twitter to warn sasaeng fans to stop following him.
“You sasaeng fans.  You might talk about how you know everything about me and my every move. But you know what? You’re moving away from me. So you guys laugh while you can. I am a scary guy when I get upset,” he posted.
In fact, the scary phenomenon of sasaeng fans was the subject of a Korean TV show, documenting how these fans stalk their idols and rent taxis just to be able to follow them.
JYJ fans expressed their indignation on how these sasaeng fans harass and stalk the boy band. Others said the timing was suspicious given that JYJ are scheduled to hold their concerts and appear on TV dramas.
“This is sooo sickening!!! These psychos should be locked up to where they belong!! i actually understand the boys, because had i been in the same situation, being harassed day in and day out for how many years,” posted fan Eimar Ebiro on fan site
Another fan, W-W, said, “It breaks my heart that they are in so much pressure. Constant stalking, no privacy.”
JYJ members, who are still in South America, have yet to issue statements regarding the issue.

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