PETALING JAYA, April 2 — South Korean singer Kim Jae-joong caused a stir on his Instagram page yesterday when he said that he had tested positive for Covid-19, only to reveal hours later that it was a lie.
According to report by Soompi, the JYJ member said his “diagnosis” was the result of “negligence” and “ignoring the warnings shared by the government and those around (him).”
Panic broke out amongst fans who were worried about Kim’s health and those who worked with him as he had just performed on a Japanese television show the day before.
He later edited his post to clarify that it was a prank intended to shock people into acknowledging the severity of the pandemic.
“So many people walk the streets and live their lives without their guards up. They think it won’t happen to them, and it makes me so worried that my family and friends might get sick.
“Believing that we and the people around us will be safe will end up making us and everything around us sick.
“Oh, and I don’t think of this as an April Fool’s joke. My family and my friends are getting sick and dying. It’s never just someone else’s problem,” wrote Kim in his updated caption.
The One Kiss singer received massive backlash from social media users who didn’t take kindly to him deliberately lying about contracting the deadly virus.
Kim then removed his original post and uploaded an apology to government agencies and healthcare workers who were fighting Covid-19 on the frontlines, adding the prank was a result of his “bad judgment.”
He highlighted that his initial intention was to promote awareness about the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Contrary to the people who are working hard to get us out of Covid-19, there are many people who enjoy their leisure time while dressing as usual and not wearing a mask.
“When I heard that, I thought there needed to be more awareness. There are also confirmed cases among the people I know.,” he said.
“This made me feel certain that this is not something that is happening far away, and it made me more scared. Self-reflecting after losing someone is no help at all.”
Kim is now being investigated by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) for spreading false information to his 1.9 million Instagram followers and potentially inciting disorder amongst the public, Star News reported.
The news outlet stated that Kim could face a maximum of five years in prison or a fine of a maximum of 10 million won (RM35,400) if found guilty of deceiving a government employee or institution and obstructing their duties.