Freddie Mercury to live forever in South Korea statue
The music of British rock band Queen is popular in South Korea, a country more associated with home-grown K-pop dance bands, including global megastars BTS.
Jeju businessman and Queen superfan Baek Soon-yeob, 57, used to listen to bootleg recordings of Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1991.
Queen’s music was banned in South Korea in the 1970s by then-military dictator Park Chung-hee’s regime, which considered it “unsuitable” in an era when men were also barred from growing their hair.
Mercury’s songs “kept me going despite many hurdles along the way”, Baek told AFP, adding it had been an emotional eight-year effort to build the statue.
After receiving approval in 2020, Baek spent 50 million won ($40,000) commissioning the 177-centimeter statue of Mercury clenching his fist, which was finally unveiled on the scenic Jeju coast.