#Don’tTravelToKorea Trends After Thai K-Pop Fan Faces Rejection

He just wanted to meet his favorite girl group.

The hashtag # Don’tTraveltoKorea is trending among young people in Thailand on social media. It all started because of an avid K-Pop fan’s testimony.

Twice performs during their 2022 Twice 4th World Tour “III” at the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. | Steven Anthony Hammock

Lately, there has been a growing sentiment to avoid traveling to Korea, as stories of people being refused entry at the airport in Korea for unjust reasons circulated on the internet. These claims gained attention on X, formerly known as Twitter, and ultimately led to interventions by both governments.

KBS News

KBS News met with a Thai K-Pop fan who shared his experience of getting denied entry at the Korean airport on social media, saying, “I’m no longer a K-Pop fan.” As a fan of K-Pop girl groups, the fan decided to travel to Korea to see them in person two months ago. In an interview with KBS reporter Jung Yoon Seop, the fan shared his obstacles at the airport.

There was a fan signing event in Korea. I decided to save money and go to Korea to meet [the girl groups] in person… The immigration officer only looked at my Thai passport without checking other documents, took me to the investigation room, and started the interview immediately.

— Thai K-Pop fan

The anonymous K-Pop fan (left) and reporter Jung Yoon Seop (right) | KBS News

He shared that he was questioned about why he came to Korea and whether he had a ticket to the fan signing event. He showed the ticket receipt, return ticket to Thailand, and even the girl group’s album, but it was useless.

The immigration officer said, ‘Anyone can buy an album. How can I believe that you are going to that event?’ and said, ‘You have no reason to enter Korea.’

— Thai K-Pop fan

KBS News

In the end, the K-Pop fan had to return to Thailand. Filled with disappointment, he wrote a post on social media explaining what happened.

I felt betrayed. No matter how much I explained that this was all true, no one would believe me.

— Thai K-Pop fan

The Thai fan’s post on social media | KBS News

Despite this experience, the young man shared that he still loves K-Pop and Korea.

However, as this issue escalated into a conflict between netizens of both Korea and Thailand, both governments eventually took steps to address it. It was reported that the consuls general of both countries will meet to discuss the issue soon. Korea’s Ministry of Justice also stated that there is no discrimination against Thailand and pledged to prevent innocent victims.

KBS News

This news shone a light on the issue of over 150,000 illegal Thai residents living in Korea. The Thai government reportedly vowed to crack down on illegal employment in Korea.

Source: KBS News