October 24, 2006 ㅡ Overzealous attention from obsessive fans is something that celebrities have to endure. But the recent attack on popular Korean boy band member U-know with a glue-laden drink has startled Korea’s entertainment world.
What alarms entertainers and their managers is that incidents aimed at actors have become more common and life-threatening.
What was once written off as a simple prank from young "anti-fans" has become a threat to the health and lives of performers. Most celebrity agencies now view the situation as so alarming that they have reportedly told their stars "not to eat or drink anything other than what their agents provide them."
A staffer from an entertainment agency, who talked on the condition he not be identified, said he never delivered gifts of food or drink sent by fans because he was afraid some of them could be poisoned.
It has taken time for the entertainment industry to move up to such draconian measures.
In 2000, the actress Yoon Eun-hye was attacked by a male anti-fan who shot her in the eyes with a water gun filled with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. Her agency claimed that the suspect must have wanted to blind her, but she refused to report him to the police after she discovered her injuries were minor.
In the same year, another anti-fan sent a detergent-laden drink to the home of one the boy-band stars. It was disguised as a gift. The singer did not drink it, but one of his family member did, and was hospitalized after complaining of severe stomach pains.
Gan Mi-yeon, a member of the all-girl pop band Baby VOX, went to the police for help in 1999 after she received an envelope full of razor blades. A rumor had spread that she was dating Moon Hui-jun, a singer from the male dance group H.O.T. Apparently, one of his younger fans sent her the envelope out of jealousy.
The singer Lee Jeong-hyeon received text messages threatening that she would be "killed if you meet him." "He" was the singer Jo Sung-mo, who starred with her in a television commercial as a dating couple.
The case of a veteran singer, Na Hun-a, was even more serious. He was slashed with a knife on his cheek while he was singing on stage. He still has a scar left on his left cheek.
The actress Do Ji-won was kidnapped by a fanatic fan and confined inside a car trunk for five hours.
For some time now, the agencies say, the only safe way to prevent such attacks is to keep their stars far out of reach of their fans.
by Lee Min-a <[email protected]>
Source: INSIDE JoongAng Daily