A Korean girl pop group was forced to return to South Korea after U.S. customs officials denied them entry at LAX Wednesday on suspicion that they might be 'sex workers,' their managment agency alleges.
The eight-member group, Oh My Girl, was set to perform Saturday at the Unforgettable Gala in Beverly Hills — an awards show that honors Asian Americans in the media — but instead were held and questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials for 15 hours, representatives of the group's management agency WM Entertainment said in a statement.
According to the statement, WM Entertainment's representatives say authorities may have been suspicious because the group, who range in age from 16 to 21, was travelling with so many "props and clothing."
Representatives also mentioned that there may have been a "visa problem," but noted that the group did not need a performance visa because they were performing in a promotional event rather than a solo concert.
Lauren Song, a spokeswoman from Pearl PR Group representing the gala, said the organizers of the gala were thrown "into a frenzy" trying to find a replacement act for the show.
Yoshi Sudarso, an actor who will be presenting at the gala, said the incident was "crazy."
"I think with one simple Google search, they could've figured out who they were," Sudarso said.
Oh My Girl debuted their first single, "Cupid," on April 2015.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials didn't return calls seeking comment. But a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times the agency could not confirm or deny the group's claims.
"Privacy Act prevents CBP from disclosing arrival/departure records of international travelers,” spokesman Jaime Ruiz wrote in an e-mail to the L.A. Times.