May 14, 2001 20:18
Three members of the popular Korean pop group H.O.T formed in 1996 announced at a press event at a hotel in Seoul Sunday that they were leaving the band due to a disagreement with their agents SM Entertainment over a new contract.
Tony Ahn, Lee Jae-won and Jang U-hyeok stated that their contract with SM Entertainment had ended and after disagreement signed a new contract with another agent, Yejeon Media on May 11.
The three announced they had wished to remain active as the group "H.O.T," but that circumstances have made it difficult for them to do so. The other two group members Kang Ta and Moon Hi-jun have not commented on the split.
Meanwhile, hundreds of teenage women fans staged a protest in front of the SM Entertainment building in Cheongdam-dong, Seoul soon after the news was announced on Sunday evening and even Monday. The women blocked the road and denounced the company saying they will continue an organized protest.
A Korean pop industry manager predicted the row of the H.O.T fans is likely to get aggravated since even when another less famous pop group, JeksKis broke up after disagreeing with its agent last year, thousands of girl students protested and criticized the agency.
Judging from the fact that H.O.T had more fans and existed for a longer time than JeksKis, he predicted the current protests may worsen and last for some considerable time.
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