Random Thoughts

Personal Security for Korean Celebrities

I was very sad to hear the news that Jessica from Girls’ Generation suffered a head injury at the Hong Kong airport. It’s been reported that a security guard mistook Jessica for a fan and pushed her back against the railing, causing her to hit her head and fall unconscious.

In light of this incident, I wanted to reflect on the security in Korea’s entertainment industry and what this means for both the fans and the celebrities themselves.

Girls-Generation-Jessica

When big Korean celebrities like Jessica come into public places, the result can be borderline chaos. Guards will try to surround the stars and prevent fans from disturbing them.

We’ve all seen this sort of scene played out in dramas, but it’s so shocking to see it happen in real life. When I saw the news, I immediately thought of the the drama My Girl. In this particular scene, the second female lead who is a famous tennis player gets trampled at the airport. Seeing what happened to Jessica, I’ve had to rethink the reality of airport trips for stars.

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As a fan, I can understand why people will flock to the airport to send off their favorite celebrities. It’s a rare opportunity to see these people in person. I’ve even considered doing it myself. The sad truth is that a  group of respectful fans can quickly become something unruly. This incident is an extreme case of what can go wrong.

I wonder if fan behavior will change a little after this. I hope that fans will make sure to keep an appropriate distance and respect the privacy of the celebrities when they are in public places. I’m just trying to find a silver lining in this depressing incident.

My Experiences with Korean Security

I’ve been there- You really don’t want to mess with Korean security guards! Those guys can be scary. While I was visiting Korea, I stood outside in the cold to watch the filming of Infinite H on an Mnet TV show. It was set up so that fans could stand outside the building and see in through the glass windows. It was a pretty cool experience (besides the fact that it was about 20 degrees outside).

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The TV station set up a rope to keep fans back from the glass. In front of the rope were a couple of  security guards who were there to keep order. For the most part everything was fine, baring two very uncomfortable incidents. I learned an important lesson that day. If the guard says don’t cross the line, YOU BETTER NOT CROSS THE LINE. After telling fans to back up multiple times with no real response, the guard physically pushed the crowd back. He wasn’t messing around- the fans went flying! I’m just glad I was further back to only feel the ripple. I can’t imagine what it was like in the front. Let me assure you, it was a scary experience.

The show also made of the mistake of sending Dongwoo out into the crowd to hand off a CD to a fan. What?! Such a bad idea. Now you are just asking for trouble. I can’t even begin to describe the fear I saw in his eyes as Dongwoo looked at the crowd. The fans rushed, the guards pushed, and I’m just glad I was able to stay on my feet. If you can, try and avoid a mob of fans. It’s not the best place to be.

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Personal security is a big concern for Korean celebrities. Artists like Big Bang, Super Junior, and Girls’ Generation have their own security teams that will fly around the world with them, ensuring their safety. I wonder if the security guard that hit Jessica was part of SNSD’s crew . I’m thinking no…

Star of David

The picture above is from when Lee Minho visited Taiwan earlier this year. Just my luck, he filmed a commercial right near where I lived in rural Taiwan! Huzzah! I met a few of his security guards during the process. Don’t worry, I was a good fan! They were just very curious to see a foreign girl in the crowd. One of them asked if I knew who Lee Minho was and we talked a bit about where I was from and why I was in Taiwan. 

If you look  closely at the jacket collar of Lee Minho’s body guards, you’ll realize that these aren’t your average security personal. They each wore a special pin with the Star of David. No, these Korean men weren’t Jewish. The pin actually denotes having done special training in Israel. These boys mean business! I’m sure Lee Minho isn’t the only Korean star using such well trained personal.

In conclusion, don’t mess with the security guards of Korean Celebrities. Just look at poor Jessica. If she can be mistaken for a fan, you can imagine what would happen to fans that are actually in the wrong place at the wrong time. Better be careful!

Rachel

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