Fans defend 'grumpy' Bieber at HK airport
There may have only been seven fans waiting to greet teen idol Justin Bieber when he arrived in Hong Kong four days ago - but by last night, his embarrassingly low-key reception in the city had been viewed on YouTube nearly 100,000 times.
A video of the Canadian singer - usually mobbed by hoards of female fans everywhere he goes - arriving at Hong Kong International Airport with three times as many bodyguards and security guards as fans has become an internet sensation.
The video, uploaded by the mass market Apple Daily newspaper, shows the 17-year-old, who performed a near sell-out concert at the AsiaWorld-Arena on Friday, looking grumpy and walking straight past the small group of fans as they yelled out his name.
By last night, the YouTube clip - titled 'Justin Bieber @ Hong Kong Airport - 7 fans vs 20 security guards' and interspersed with clips of frenzied mobs of female fans in overseas cities - had been viewed 97,000 times.
Bieber, who signed to a record label in 2008 after homemade videos of himself singing became a YouTube sensation, was in Hong Kong to perform at the AsiaWorld-Arena Friday night in one of the closing gigs of his My World Tour 2011.
In contrast to his arrival, his debut Hong Kong concert on Friday was a huge success with the 13,500-seater venue packed almost to capacity as fans sang along to his worldwide hits such as Baby and Eenie Meenie.
The Sunday Morning Post yesterday tracked down two of the seven fans who turned out to greet Bieber on Wednesday and who feature in the YouTube video. They were in a forgiving mood despite their idol's apparent airport snub.
Friends Ruth Boon and Leah Birkby were two of the seven fans captured on the YouTube video. The pair said they were lucky the pop star's arrival in Hong Kong coincided with a day off from school because of a teachers' training day.
Leah, 14, who describes herself as being one of Bieber's biggest fans for the past two years, said she had been thrilled to see him after waiting for an hour at the airport.
'It was amazing to see him and be there to support him,' she said. 'It was a dream come true. The bad press he has been getting is really unfair and totally wrong. I was annoyed at that.
'He was very ill and not grumpy about the lack of support as some people are saying.'
Ruth, 15, said she found it embarrassing to find herself featured in the YouTube clip, but defended the star.
'He didn't acknowledge us but that was probably because he saw more of the photographers, ' she said.
'I was annoyed the papers implied he was grumpy because there were only seven fans. It was not true. It was pretty understandable as it was a school day.
'He wasn't very happy but it wasn't anything to do with the amount of fans there. He was sick in the Philippines.'
Both girls had tickets for the concert but for Ruth the brief airport glimpse was to prove her only sighting of Bieber. She was forced to miss the concert after injuring her leg playing football.
'I was disappointed to miss the concert,' she said. 'I think what makes him so amazing is the combination of his talent and good looks. It was unfortunate I didn't get to see those two combined in the concert but I still got to see his good looks.'
Bieber is due to play in Taipei tonight before concluding his tour with two concerts in Japan.