“They Killed A Child.” — Fans Boycott A K-Pop Album Distributor For Its Cult Affiliation

The cult was believed to be responsible for at least 3 deaths.

Content Warning

This article includes descriptions of violence that may disturb some readers.

One of the biggest ways K-Pop fans can support their favorite artists and enjoy music is through album purchases.

As K-Pop has spread worldwide, more and more purchase options have become available as Korean-based distributors expand their reach globally. One of the more popular sources for purchasing albums is Synnara Records.

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Synnara Records is particularly popular because of its low prices and the ability for fans to order albums in English through the distributor’s global orders. Many locally based K-Pop stores also supply from Synnara Records.

Unrelated photo of K-Pop albums.

Fans recently began a boycott of the distributor, however, because of its connection to a major cult that ruined the lives of dozens and was suspective of killing several members, including a child.

Founded by Kim Ki Soon in 1982, the Aga Dongsan cult was a religious community that consisted of collective farms and factories in Gyeonggi Province, Korea. Kim Ki Soon placed herself as the head of the cult and referred to herself as a baby, which she claimed made her without sin.

The major issue with this cult was the labor exploitation that took place, where believers would work both during the day and night for very little pay. In 1996, around 30 members filed a petition asking for the cult to be investigated for exploitation.

Cult members working on the grounds of Aga Dongsan. 

In addition to the explotation, cult members claimed that the leader was responsible for the deaths of several people, including a 21-year-old for engaging in sexual activity and a 7-year-old child who was beaten to death.

The investigation made international news when it was discovered that Synnara Records was owned and operated by the cult. Synnara Records was the largest distributor of albums in Korea at the time, due in part to its low prices, which many news sources alleged was because of cult members working for free.

Entrance to the Aga Dongsan properties.

The Seoul High Court ruled in favor of the complainants in 1998. After a two-year investigation, Kim Ki Soon was convicted of tax evasion, embezzlement, and exploitation and sentenced to four years of imprisonment and a ₩5.60 billion KRW (about $4.53 million USD) fine.

In 2008, it was ruled that the breakaway members. of the cult would retain the rights to the group’s collective assets, and many believe the cult dissolved.

While this should have been the end of the Aga Dongsan, K-Pop fans have discovered that Kim Ki Soon allegedly is still the chairman of Synnara Records, in addition to several cult members holding higher-up positions in the company. This has led many fans to boycott the distributor, regardless of the benefits it offers.

Synnara Records has not yet addressed any current allegations of cult members working for the company.

Source: KoreaJoongAngDaily and Billboard
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