Singer JJ Lin, 39, is one of Singapore’s greatest success stories in music, having established himself as a star on par with other Mandopop greats and amassed a huge following all over the world.
Some of these devotees — over 30,000, to be exact — are willing to pay to be part of his official VIP fan club, JJ Federation, which offers some pretty cool perks, such as access to exclusive app content, private meet-ups, and early merchandise sales. There's even a dedicated zone close to the stage that's reserved for them at JJ's concerts.
According to Chinese netizens, the annual membership fee costs 290 yuan (about S$58), and members are also required to shell out an additional 120 yuan (about S$24) for the club T-shirt.
After doing the math, Taiwanese media have estimated that JJ Federation could have raked in as much as NT$400mil (S$19mil) since it was established eight years ago. And where exactly all that sweet moolah goes to recently became a controversial topic on the internet.
A few days ago, a post emerged on a Chinese forum alleging that JJ Federation has been operating and collecting payment illegally in China without the proper licence and permissions.
The article also points out that the fan club earnings appear to be remitted to the private account of JJ's appointed executive broker, Abiba Wang. Because the money is transferred into a personal account, it is non-taxable, a little fact that then led to suspicions of one of the biggest no-no's for an affluent celeb: Tax evasion.
JJ's management agency wasted no time in responding to these unsavoury accusations. “JJ Federation has always been committed to giving back to fans who love and support JJ Lin and his music,” they said in a statement. “The fan club does not exist for the purpose of making a profit, and the benefits enjoyed by fans far exceed the value of the membership fee.”
They also explained that the information shared by netizens is not consistent with the current facts, and warned that they reserve the right to pursue legal action against anyone who continues to spread malicious rumours.