TN schoolgirls flee home to meet BTS in South Korea, rescued by cops in Karur
BTS, the seven-member South Korean boy band has a massive fan following in India. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

TN schoolgirls flee home to meet BTS in South Korea, rescued by cops in Karur

The girls, all aged 13, who had no passports or visas, had planned to board a ship from Visakhapatnam

The blind obsession to meet their beloved stars from South Korean band BTS, became a nightmare for three Tamil Nadu schoolgirls when they decided to travel all the way to Seoul without the consent or knowledge of their parents.

The girls, all aged 13 and students of Class 8 in a government school in Karur district, reportedly wanted to watch a concert of the band and decided to take a ship to South Korea from Visakhapatnam.

They had around ₹14,000 cash with them and had no idea that travel to a foreign country would require passport and visas and a fair deal of money.

Stealth move, failed mission

“They took a firm decision to somehow meet the BTS stars and shortlisted the seaports of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to take a ship to South Korea and they eventually chose Visakhapatnam,” PTI quoted an official of Child Welfare Committee as saying.

On January 4, the teens quietly left their homes and reached Chennai after taking a train from Erode.

When they didn’t show up in school, their teachers intimated their parents, who in turn filed a complaint with the police. Police teams were alerted across the state to trace the girls.

After much difficulty, the girls managed to get accommodation at a hotel in Chennai that day.

The next day (January 5), they tried making their way ahead but lost energy after running from pillar to post and decided to return home. They had spent most of the money brought from home on clothes and accessories and realised that they don’t have enough to reach South Korea.

However, they missed the train when they got down at the Katpadi railway station at midnight to buy food. It was where they encountered police personnel and Child Line authorities, who in turn alerted District Child Welfare officials in Vellore, P Vedanayagam, head of the committee told PTI.

On being asked why they fled home, the girls said they came to know about the band after watching their songs on the smartphones of their parents and wanted to watch a live concert in Seoul.

After being produced before the magistrate’s court in Karur, the girls were taken to a state-run facility in Vellore district to stay the night and their parents were intimated about their whereabouts and summoned for counselling.

‘Dressed like BTS, knew the minutest trivia’

“We learnt that the girls knew the minutest details about the BTS band and the stars, the way they dressed and what not; they had bought shoes similar to the ones used by the pop band stars,” Vedanayagam said.

He said even though the band had left an indelible mark on the girls, the unhindered access to smartphones led to their obsession to meet their idols.

“It was very clear to us that they yearned for a life of dance and music.”

During the counselling, the girls were cajoled and explained that the way they wanted to go abroad was a mistake and could have landed them in a difficult situation.

The children were instead told to focus on their studies and told that it would help them realise their dreams.

The parents were also asked to keep an eye on their wards and the children were asked to judiciously use the internet and smartphones.

Vedanayagam said the family background of the three girls may also have been a reason why they were left unsupervised.

“In the case of one girl, it was a single parent. Another girl’s father is mentally challenged. The mothers of these girls work as farm labourers. They have little or no time to monitor what their children do and what they want,” he said.

After the counselling, the parents escorted the teens back home on January 6.

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