K-Pop Group Turned Away From LAX Over Visa Issue, Not on Suspicion of Being Sex Workers: Government Official

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Young women attend a Korean pop, or K-pop, convention at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in 2014. An unrelated K-pop girl group alleged its members were denied entry at LAX this week because they were suspected of being sex workers. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The K-pop group that was turned away at LAX this week was denied entry because the members lied about the purpose of their trip, not because they were mistaken for sex workers as the performers have claimed, a government official said Saturday.

An official with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the eight-member girl band lied to customs officials and said they were traveling to the U.S. as tourists, rather than for work.

Officials denied them entry when it became clear from the contents of their luggage that they were here to perform but did not have the required P1 performance visa.

The group was attempting to enter the U.S. under the visa waiver program, which allows South Korean travelers into the country for up to 90 days without a visa.

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