Chasing Stars

HE HAS chased popular celebrities from the airport to their hotels.

Sometimes, the 52-year-old even makes sure that his vehicle is parked right beside the stars' vans whenhe's chasing stars.

But Mr Jimmy Tan is no fan.

He is a driver who has been paid by fans to chase celebritieswhenthe idolscometo Singapore.

It's not uncommon to see crowds of fans screaming at airports or forming snaking lines at malls to get their hands on concert tickets and backstage passes.

And things have been knownto get out of hand.

Late last month, two members of Korean boy band Super Junior were involved in a six-car pile-up along the East Coast Parkway.


Concert organisers blamed the incidenton overzealous fans trailing the boys in a van.

Although no one was injured, singer Kim Heechul later tweeted: "Now, now... if you want to see us, then cometo the stadium. Everyone is being put in danger."

Mr Tan believes that the things these fans do sometimes are indeed "dangerous".

"They had ever insisted that I overtake other cars on the road even when I told them that it was not safe," he said.

He knows he could be breaking the traffic rules.

But he added: "Sometimes the chase can be quite thrilling so we give in to the kids as well."

Mr Tan said he can charge up to $400 for a day but has now stopped accepting such requests.

"The fans themselves can get into serious accidents if they continue like this," said Mr Tan.

When they're not hiring vans to chase their idols, fans also gather at the airport to greet their stars.

When Korean actor and singer Kim Hyun Joong came here last December, 2,000 fans flocked to the airport to greet the star.

Last June, 1,000 rabid fans staked out at the airport halls hoping to catch a glimpse of K-pop stars Beast who popped into town for a promotional trip.

The scenes are similar almost every time: Fans form crowds at the arrival gates, shouting and screaming their idols' names.

The situation is close to manic at times, so security is water tight.

A Changi Airport spokesperson said that it works closely with the appointed event company that brings in the celebrity, as well as security agencies like the Airport Police Division and Certis Cisco.

"Crowd control barriers are set up to safeguard the route of the arriving celebrities," he said.

"If a particular large group of fans is expected, the event company will be advised to engage additional auxiliary police officers and/or security escorts."

But there are times when fans won't be able to get close to their idols as many visiting celebrities make use of the JetQuay CIP Terminal so they can bypass the public arrival halls.

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