May 31, 2010
K-pop group Super Junior’s concert causes stampede at Shanghai Expo, one death reported
A Korean pop concert held yesterday at the Expo Culture Center caused something of a stampede – reports of how bad it got vary, from the Epoch Time’s rumor that someone died to Shanghai Daily’s blithe announcement that the streets were “blocked by fans.”
If anything, this event was a warning about the power of K-pop: South Korea had planned a “classical and pop” concert that included insanely huge acts – Kangta, BoA and Super Junior, whose Shanghai shows sell out at 10,000+ seated stadiums each year they come. They’re so insanely huge that it almost makes you wonder what organizers were thinking when they arranged that show.
To get in, all you supposedly had to do was get an Expo ticket and line up at the center, an act which, if you’re a student, costs 90RMB. That’s way less than the Super Junior 2009 show’s ticket prices at Yuan Shen Sports Center, where the cheapest you could get in for was 480RMB. Unfortunately, there were only 5000 tickets available, and half of those had already been given to South Korean groups – a fact that eager Chinese K-pop fans hadn’t been made aware of.
By midnight on Saturday, according to Lianhe Zaobao, there were already 2000 people waiting outside the Expo’s Pudong door. Night watch people were blindsided. By the time the limited amount of tickets sold out (The Standard reports there were less than 500), roughly 5000 people were waiting around.
When the crowd realized all tickets were gone, they began to get violent. A witness on the internet said that “several girls were stepped on and over by several guys. So messy, so messy, All the crying and yelling turned into one big wave. There were so many shoes. One girl even fell from the second floor.” The original post has already been harmonized on Tianya. Lianhe says the rumor that this girl died hasn’t been confirmed, though Hong Kong’s Apple Daily seems to be reporting it as fact (watch the YouTube video in that link or below, it has some images of police guards frantically running to contain the crowd).
What they both agree on is that hundreds of people were injured, whether from the pushing and shoving or from heatstroke. The Expo official report itself said that “In the event, several tourists suffered from heatstroke and abrasions and were rushed to nearby medical facilities at the park.” That’s a little more than “blocked by fans,” isn’t it?
Which actually makes me wonder – it seems that Shanghai Daily is still the only China-based paper that’s picked up on the news and their version was way more sanitized than the dozens of Mandarin reports in Chinese media. It almost feels like Chinese media controllers, for the first time I’ve noticed, are more scared about what the outside world thinks than what their own people think.
Fans got violent and upset to the ticket handlers and staff after the tickets were all handed out. By 9 in the morning there were thousands hanging around at the area. The second floor railing, due to the amount of pushing of shoving, broke and a girl fell off and died. A stampede broke out and hundreds of people were hurt and injured. Thousands of police and tens ambulances were called in.
The concert is cancelled but the Shanghai Expo organisers did not reveal why. They did not imagine that a concert would result in such a tragedy.
Note the discrepancy. Some articles say that the death is a rumour while the Apple Daily news in Hong Kong is reporting it as a fact. In the meantime I will go read more Chinese articles to check.