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Agencies of top girl groups breach labor law: Rep. Ahn

Members of popular girl bands f(x), Kara and GP Basic have broken the local labor standards law, Rep. Ahn Hyung-hwan of the Grand National Party said Friday.

As members of K-pop girl bands become younger each year -- and their dresses, skimpier -- Ahn suggested that entertainers who were minors were being exploited the local K-pop scene.

“Teenagers aged between 13 and 15 that make up a majority of current girl groups are active while in violation of the labor standard act,” Ahn said.
Singer Sulli (left) of girl group f(x) and Kang Gee-young of Kara (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Singer Sulli (left) of girl group f(x) and Kang Gee-young of Kara (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)

In a recent report submitted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Ahn said Sully of f(x), Kang Gee-young of Kara, Henna and Janie of GP Basic had violated the law.

All four teenaged entertainers had failed to acquire the requisite permit from the Labor Ministry before starting their career in entertainment.

GP Basic’s youngest member, 12-year old Janie, could be the first to be legally summoned, due to her age.

According to the report by the ministry, only three permits were handed out to teenaged performers in 2008, 14 in 2009, and just one this year so far.

“Entertainment and management companies have crossed the line in their mission to heat up the competition,” Ahn said.

“There must be an age restriction and at the same time a strict criteria for the content of performances done by these girl bands.”

The current labor standard act states that no one under the age of 15 can be considered part of the workforce unless given presidential approval.

In response to Ahn’s charges, SM Entertainment released an official statement saying the company would make their next move only after looking into the matter with its legal team.

Management camps for both Kara and GP Basic said they too would quickly look into the matter with the help of legal representation.

By Song Woong-ki (