PHOTO: BLACKPINK/INSTAGRAM

K-pop mega girl group Blackpink will no longer accept gifts from fans, its management agency YG Entertainment announced on October 12, 2021.

The chart-topping quartet’s fans, known as Blinks, can still send their idols handwritten letters.

“Excluding handwritten fan letters, (Blackpink) will not be receiving gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, solo debut anniversaries or holidays like Christmas and New Year,” YG Entertainment said in a statement, adding that the group had been weighing this matter for a long time.

It asked instead that such support and gifts be diverted to worthy causes and warned that any gifts left at its headquarters will be discarded with immediate effect.

Strict rules apply to the handwritten fan letters, which should be delivered to YG Entertainment’s headquarters in Mapo District, western Seoul. The letters should be inside regular envelopes and those written on especially thick paper will not be accepted.

This move comes in the wake of band member Lisa’s solo debut last month (Sept).

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The band members had received extravagant birthday gifts on their respective birthdays earlier this year, which led to a backlash. For instance, Jisoo’s Chinese fans sent designer goods reportedly worth 3.7 million yuan (S$778,000) for her birthday in January. These items included Cartier watches, Christian Dior perfume, Gucci Jumper as well as a rare Hermes Birkin bag.

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The issue of lavish gifts, which can lead to wasteful behaviour and may be abused by stalkers and hardcore fans known as sasaengs, had come up in the past for other popular groups.

For instance, mega boy band BTS stopped the practice in 2018. Before that, they had received gifts including designer clothes, shoes and bags, a Rolex watch, an iPhone and even a gold bar.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.