Crossing the line: Chinese netizens furious with fans caught invading idol’s privacy
Published: Jul 18, 2021 06:37 PM
Wang Yibo. Photo: VCG

Wang Yibo. Photo: VCG

Making unwanted phone calls, installing vehicle trackers and even causing car crashes - Chinese netizens are more fed up than ever with the behavior of maniacal fans with the news that two people have been detained for illegally tracking a celebrity's car.

The two suspects were detained for secretly installing a tracking device on a Chinese actor's car and illegally selling the actor's location for profit, said a notice issued by Beijing police on Saturday. 

The car in question was being rented long-term by well-known Chinese actor Wang Yibo, said the notice. The two sasaeng - a Korean slang term popular in China for obsessive fans who invade the privacy of their idols - surnamed Li and Zhang had put the locator on Wang's rental to get his location and track his itinerary.

The duo also bragged about the illegally gained information on social media, saying they sold the information to other fans for profit.

Their actions not only caught the attention of Wang's fans, but also that of millions of Chinese netizens on Sina Weibo, many of whom advocated that actions be taken to prevent such illegal behavior from happening again.

"This is not something that a fan should do to their idols. This is definitely a criminal act that should be prevented by police," read one comment on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

"They are stalkers instead of true fans of Wang Yibo. I think they're more anxious for the profits from selling Wang's private information than for simply appreciating him," said another netizen.

The 24-year-old Chinese actor, singer and professional motorcycle racer is known for his roles in hit TV series such as The Untamed (2019), and Legend of Fei (2020).

Wang once earned thumbs-up from netizens after he paid tribute to the heroes who had sacrificed their lives to defend China and aid North Korea during the Korean War (1950-53).

However, alongside the rise in popularity in China of idols like Wang, a deviant fandom culture has formed. These infatuated fans do their best to snoop into the private lives of their idols to get first-hand information.

After Wang's number was leaked to the public in 2019, the star received at least 194 phone calls from his so-called fans. Some of these "fans" even logged into the social media accounts Wang had bound to this phone number.

Also in 2019, Jackson Wang suffered an injury to his back in a car crash that occurred as he tried to evade stalkers chasing his car.

Global Times