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Some stars fall prey to exploitation by family

"A bear plays a trick, but it's always a monkey that collects money from audiences."

Koreans use this old adage when people take credit for an achievement despite having played a minimal or non-existent role in it, and as a result leaving those who played a key role devastated as their hard work didn't lead to financial compensation.

Some highly paid stars have likewise fallen victim to close family members or other trusted people who swindle them out of their money, leaving them with nothing after years or decades of hard work.

Comedian-TV show host Park So-hong, 51, is the latest victim of close family members' exploitation that cost him decades of income. He confirmed rumors on Sunday that his older brother and sister-in-law took an estimated 10 billion won (nearly $900,000) he had earned since his debut as a comedian. Park's brother reportedly disappeared recently after his younger brother learned about the decades-long con and confronted the couple.

"The recent rumors about me are true. I suffered an immense financial loss, along with mental shock, because of my former agency run by my brother and his wife," he said in a statement on social media.

Park's former agency was a family-owned business and his older brother served as founder and CEO responsible for managing his star brother's income and assets.

Park said he learned that buildings and assets that were purchased with his income were registered under the names of either his brother or sister-in-law. "The other day, I belatedly learned that all the money I've earned from my 30 years of hard work didn't belong to me. I was shocked. I desperately tried to right the wrong and reached out to him to hear what happened. But my efforts went in vain. He didn't respond to my repeated calls to answer me."

Park said he tried to settle the dispute quietly without disclosing it publicly, because it was a family issue. But, he went on to say, people came to know about it and he felt the need to make it public in light of the people worrying about him and sending their best wishes.

"I secured all evidence that can prove what happened and requested my brother to sit down with me the other day. This is my final call. If he and his wife don't respond, they are not my family anymore," he said in the statement.

He stopped short of legal action against the couple but his statement was grave enough to convey the message that he won't sit back and take it.

Park didn't disclose when exactly he caught on to the exploitation. But those who are familiar with the family's dispute claimed he came to learn of it in 2019.

On a recent TV show, Park hinted that something bad happened to him and he was so devastated that he felt he may die. After his remarks, rumors about his allegedly manipulative relatives spread quickly on the internet as a few people familiar with the incident shared it on social media.

Park is not the only star who has been exploited by manipulative family members.

In the mid-2010s, trot singer Jang Yoon-jung shared her bitter memory about her mother and younger brother who allegedly squandered the money she had made with her success.

Her mother was accused of illegally gambling some of it away while her brother allegedly invested her money in his failed business expansion. Jang spoke about her alleged gambling-addicted mother in an interview with three writers for then popular reality TV show "Healing Camp." Her leaked story made headlines, causing a stir among internet users. In three separate open letters sent to media outlets, her mother denied the allegations and said her daughter's claims were baseless.

Since debuting as a singer after winning a song competition hosted by MBC in 1999, Jang rose to stardom with her 2004 mega hit song "Eomeona!" ("Oh My Goodness!"). She was known for her extremely hectic schedule as the nation's busiest star traveling all across the country for appearances.

On a TV show, she later said she forgave her family members with whom she had severed ties and no longer met.

Kim Wan-sun, a singer who had dominated domestic music charts all during the 1980s and 1990s, is another celebrity victim of exploitation, in this case by an abusive aunt, Han Baek-hee.
On a TV show that aired in 2011, Kim said her late aunt was her manager who made her a star but also took all the money she had made during her career.

Kim claimed she had never been paid during her 13-year singing career until she called it quits abruptly in 1998 and left the country to seek another career overseas.

Before her 1986 debut, she said she spent seven years training under the guidance of her aunt and didn't even find time for anything outside of her career due to her demanding vocal and dancing training schedule. After her debut and rapid rise to stardom ― largely thanks to her exotic appearance and machine-like dancing skill which was rare in the 1980s ― she said her manager-aunt took all her earnings.







Apparently there are some people calling for Park Sohong and his mother to removed from the cast of My Little Old Boy, because they thought that his parents knew what his brother was doing and protecting him. Park Sohong responded by saying that his parents had no idea what his brother was doing either.


source: The Korea Times
Tags: crime, family
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