Daughter of Thai coup supporter quits K-pop group H1-KEY for ‘personal reasons’

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Sitala Wongkrachang, the only Thai member of South Korea’s rookie girl group H1-KEY, has decided to leave the band, her agency announced on Wednesday, citing personal reasons.

H1-Key is a K-pop girl group under Grandline Group Entertainment (GLG). Debuting in January this year, the group’s members now consist of three members: Seoi, Riina and Yel. 

“The decision was reached after a thorough review of the overall situation,” GLG said in a statement. “The agency discussed this matter at length with Sitala herself as well as with the rest of the H1-KEY members.” 

Before releasing the group’s first single album “Athletic Girl,” Sitala received a backlash on Thai social media for her family background which is linked to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rallies against Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration in 2013. The protests resulted in a military coup in 2014. 

Sitala, also known by her Thai nickname Look-nung, is a daughter of late actor and prominent activist Sarunyu Wongkrachang who was active in the PDRC protests.

Following the online outrage, her agency issued a statement in December last year saying Sitala would be one of the H1-KEY members regardless of her family’s politics. “We cannot hold Sitala accountable,” GLG said. 

Now with her departure being announced, Thai netizens who called for her removal were thrilled, with two hashtags #SITALA and #H1KEY trending on Thai Twitter. Some even gave her a warm welcome to her homeland.

“Welcome home to the hell your father created,” a netizen wrote in a tweet.

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