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Pop group fan dies in Yoido

Posted January. 07, 2001 19:27,   


On Jan. 5 at about 10 p.m., the sorrowful wails of a middle-aged woman could be heard in the emergency room at St. Mary¡¯s Hospital in Yoido.

"How? How could such a thing¡¦?" No longer able to stand, the 49-year old woman was helped to a bed as she continued her muffled cries. Her husband could only look up to the ceiling in disbelief at the news of their daughter's death.

Earlier that night, the couple heard the fateful news that their 15-year-old daughter had died due to heart failure after being trampled by fans chasing members of a popular dance group.

Their daughter had joined the group's fan club in November 1999. Although her parents feared her dedication to the group, which meant faithfully attending their performances once or twice a week, would distract her from her studies, they considered it just another phase of growing up.

"Although there is a general acceptance of the near abnormal culture of celebrity worship by teenagers, it is leading to the deaths of our children. Something needs to be done to prevent more deaths," said the father, who raised two daughters by selling vegetables for the last 20 years.

Around 6:30 p.m. on the day of her death, the victim had been chasing members of the popular group Click-B near the Namjoong Building in Yoido. After taking a misstep that left her on the ground, she was trampled under the feet of about 30 other fans. Unconscious, she was taken to Yoido's Sung-mo Hospital but died about two hours later.

The tragic death occurred after about 50 or so teen-aged girls showed up at a "live Internet video-chat" event sponsored by MegaEnterprise, which maintains the homepages of two members of the seven-member group.

Choi Ho-Won bestiger@donga.com