FILE PHOTO: File picture of fans of the Korean K-Pop band BTS waiting in the rain outside Central Park in New York a day ahead of a concert performance. New York City, New York, U.S., May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
SEOUL (Reuters) – An annual K-pop festival is not happening in Hong Kong this year due to months-long political unrest, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.
Hong Kong has hosted the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) since 2012, where top K-pop artists including global phenomenon boyband BTS performed for years. In previous years, tens of thousands of K-pop fans packed stadiums in Hong Kong for the awards.
The move follows a number of organizers delaying or cancelling sports, concerts and other events due to the pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong’s premier women’s tennis event planned for October was postponed. The city’s soccer matches were also postponed.
Hong Kong police shot and critically wounded a protester and a man was doused with petrol and set on fire on Monday as the Chinese-ruled territory spiraled into rare working-day violence in its 24th week of unrest.
“This year, after internal discussions, the MAMA organizer decided not to hold the event in Hong Kong because of the protests,” the source said.
South Korea’s CJ ENM Co Ltd (035760.KQ), the show’s organizer, told Reuters in a statement that Hong Kong had not been chosen as the event’s venue, considering “various circumstances,” without elaborating.
The music awards will take place in Nagoya, Japan on Dec. 4, CJ ENM added.
Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan