See our latest: A federal official says the group's story is a lie.
A K-pop group called Oh My Girl was held for 15 hours at LAX this week because federal customs officials initially believed members were prostitutes from South Korea, the act's representatives said in a statement.
“They were mistaken as 'working women' (prostitutes), which the U.S. has a big issue with right now,” according to a translation of a statement issued by management at WM Entertainment.
We reached out to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman but did not hear back. Same went for the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles.
The management company said a misunderstanding took place after members of the typically large group of K-pop performers were asked what relationship they had to one another. It happened Dec. 9.
The answer of “sister” didn't sit well with authorities, the firm stated. Federal officials thought the answer was strange because it was clear the women were not “blood related,” WM management said.
In Korean culture, close friends often refer to one another as sister and brother.
On top of that, the performers had packed sexy outfits typical of their performances. Authorities paid “extra attention to the large quantity of items and outfits we had,” the firm stated.
The women were held for 15 hours as federal officials sorted out the situation, the management firm said. The group returned to South Korea immediately and did not show up for scheduled events, including a photo shoot and something called Unforgettable 2015, WM Entertainment stated.
A lawyer has been hired to look into whether the detention was valid, the firm said.
“We sincerely apologize for causing anxiety and thank everyone who worried for us,” WM Entertainment stated.