Pranks are supposed to be funny, but more often than not, some can be rather irresponsible.
Take the case of Kpop singer Kim Jae-joong. On April Fool’s Day, he announced on his Instagram to his legions of fans that he had contracted the Covid-19 virus.
The former member of the boy band TVXQ and current member of JYJ wrote: “I’ve been infected with Covid-19. This was all due to my carelessness, for ignoring the advice provided by the government and all those around me.”
“It’s a wonder how significantly one person’s actions can affect the greater society. I am apologetic toward those who may have also been inflicted with the virus because of me ... I am being hospitalised.”
Of course, the announcement definitely got his fans really worried. After an hour had passed, he made another post revealing that it was an April Fool’s prank, and it was made in order to raise awareness about the dangers of the coronavirus.
He wrote: “To have someone you love or someone precious to you be infected with a virus is a heartbreaking thing. Despite that fact, there are so many people who are still roaming the streets, acting as if it won’t ever happen to them.”
“Many of my acquaintances and staff are also seeing their loved ones testing positive for the virus ... Although this prank went quite far for a simple April Fool’s joke, many people still became worried about me in a short period.”
“This is definitely not something that only happens to other people. I wanted to tell everyone that protecting yourself is also the solution to protecting others. I will receive all punishment that I am due for this post. I hope you will all stay healthy.”
Both posts have since been removed from his social media accounts after he received widespread backlash for his prank.
Needless to say, his prank did not amuse authorities in South Korea. According to South China Morning Post, a representative of the Korea Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the singer.
The organisation leading the battle against the Covid-19 outbreak in South Korea said the case “involves the spreading of false information, so we’re discussing how exactly the punishment will be carried out.”
Under South Korean law, deceiving a government employee or institution and obstructing them in their duties can result in a five-year jail term or a maximum fine of 10 million won (RM35,551).