Korean bands having travel problems

Korean bands Oh My Girl

Last week proved an eventful one for Korean bands with groups from both the North and South having travel problems.

Wednesday (9th December) saw the relatively new eight piece female K-pop group Oh My Girl held for fifteen hours at Los Angeles International airport by U.S. Customs before being forced to return home. The group’s record company WM Entertainment initially claimed that the girls, who had flown to the USA to shoot pictures for a new album cover and perform at a promotional event, had been mistaken for sex workers by border officials! However a spokesman for US Customs speaking ‘off the record’ was subsequently quoted as saying that the group were denied entry because they did not have the required P1 performance visa. He also stated that the girls and their entourage were forced to wait fifteen hours because that was the first available flight back to South Korea.

WM Entertainment have issued a statement revealing that it was taking advice from their attorneys in the United States.

On the same day the North Korean Moranbong Band, an all-female aggregation of singers and musicians had arrived in Beijing on a goodwill tour of China. Although they were scheduled to play three shows, just a matter of hours before they were due on stage on Saturday, they flew back to Pyongyang with no explanation and their concerts were cancelled.

The government sponsored Moranbong Band, whose members were chosen by Kim Jong-un himself, was formed in 2012. While the band is very different to their Southern K-pop counterparts whose image is very westernised, they are a radical departure for North Korea with the members of the pop music playing group allowed to wear short skirts and high-heels.


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