Fans of soap star injured in frenzy

From Associated Press

A sudden frenzy erupted among fans of South Korean soap opera star Bae Yong-joon as he left his Tokyo hotel in a car Friday, leaving nine Japanese women hurt and prompting an apology from Bae.

The women taken to a hospital had bruises and other minor injuries, said Tokyo Fire Department spokeswoman Yuko Masuda. Another official said the injured women were all between the ages of 40 and 60.

Bae has been mobbed by hordes of screaming fans, most of them women, since his arrival in Japan on Thursday for a five-day visit to promote a book and an exhibition of photographs of him. The 32-year-old actor became one of the most sought-after celebrities in Japan because of his role in a South Korean television drama, “Winter Sonata,” which has sparked a craze in Tokyo for all things Korean.

At a news conference later in the day, Bae expressed concern for those injured. “I pray the injuries my fans suffered were not serious. I feel really sorry,” he said, solemnly. “I could not tell my fans who were there all night to go home.”