In South Korean culture, a sasaeng or sasaeng fan (Hangul: 사생팬) is an obsessive fan of a Korean pop idol, or other public figure, that has engaged in stalking or other behaviour that constitutes an invasion of privacy. The term sasaeng comes from the Korean words sa (Hangul: 사) meaning "private" and saeng (Hangul: 생) meaning "life," in reference to the fans' intrusion into the celebrities' private lives. According to estimates given by celebrity managers to Korean media, popular Korean celebrities "have between 500 to 1,000 sasaeng fans" and are actively followed by about 100 sasaeng fans every day.
TVXQ and JYJ
K-pop boy bands TVXQ and JYJ, in particular, have been the targets of many sasaeng fans. Sasaeng fans were reported to have tapped TVXQ's phones, broken into the band's apartment, and poisoned member Yunho, who had to have his stomach pumped as a result. Saesang fans also installed cameras into JYJ's Yoochun's private parking lot. In 2012, audio was uploaded on an online message board of Yoochun and bandmate Jaejoong apparently yelling at and hitting female fans. JYJ members addressed the recording during a press conference, when Yoochun said that the group had been followed by sasaeng fans for eight years (since they were members of TVXQ), saying that the constant surveillance "felt like prison." Band member Junsu mentioned incidents where saesang fans tapped his private phone calls, installed GPS trackers on the band's cars, and broke into their private property. At the press conference, Jaejoong issued an apology for lashing out at fans.
Numerous Korean pop idols have gotten into car accidents while being followed by sasaeng fans. In 2011, two members of Super Junior were caught in a six-car pile-up after being chased by eight fan vehicles in Singapore. The members, Leeteuk and Heechul, were unharmed, but Heechul later tweeted that he still suffered after-effects from the accident and was often afraid to drive. In 2013, Seungri of Big Bang suffered minor injuries from a car accident in Shanghai involving a sasaeng fan. In 2015, Chanyeol of Exo wrote on Weibo that he was constantly followed by 20 fan vehicles during a visit to Shanghai. In 2016, Jackson of Got7 sustained minor injuries after getting into an accident with a fan who was following his car closely on his way to an airport in China.
Korean pop idols have reported being followed home by sasaeng fans. Idols including Jung Yong-hwa of CNBLUE, Zico of Block B, Junho of 2PM, and Lay of Exo have reported incidents of sasaeng fans following them home or attempting to break in to their homes. In 2014, a fan unlawfully entered singer Seo Taiji's home and was found sitting in the singer's car when police arrived. Seo did not press charges against the fan, who admitted to have "lurked" around the singer's home before.
In February 2011, a clause was added to South Korea's Minor Offenses Act, aiming to protect idols from overzealous fans. That same year, the South Korean government's Korea Creative Content Agency reportedly founded a support center for celebrities to offer counseling services "to relieve [celebrities] from any psychological stress."
The Minor Offences Act was revised in March 2013 so that a conviction of stalking would lead to a fine of KRW 80,000 (about USD 72 at the time). A South Korean law was introduced in February 2016 that would increase the penalty for stalking to KRW 20 million (about USD 17,000 at the time), as well as a possible two-year jail sentence.
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