What a steal! K-pop fans report photocards being stolen

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 7) — It appears photos of K-pop idols are now being targeted by petty thieves after a television report said one could fetch as much as ₱50,000.

A Twitter post recently went viral after it claimed that a friend's photocard of Enhypen's Sunghoon was stolen in Cubao, Quezon City.

But what are photocards? They are pocket-sized exclusive images of K-pop idols included in the album package. Their origin can be traced back in 2010 when SM Entertainment inserted them in Girls' Generation's "Oh" album.

For South Korean music labels, inserting photocards is a good marketing strategy to boost album sales: insert one random exclusive image of a group member in each album copy, and fans will buy multiple copies to get the photocard of their favorite member.

The price of K-pop photocards depends on various factors such as rarity, exclusivity, condition of the card, and popularity of the group or the member. But collectors can buy original photocards for as low as ₱35 each.

READ: Are K-pop photocards the new NBA cards?

Eli, a senior high school student, also lost her photocard of Red Velvet's Joy to a thief while at a café in Pasig City last Monday.

She left her bag on the table while she and her cousin ordered coffee. When they returned, her ₱350-photocard dangling in her bag was already missing.

"Hindi po nakakatulong sa marami yung nangyayaring nakawan just because they thought na lahat ng pcs (photocards) [are] worth [₱]50k, [₱]350 is not easy to earn din po," Eli told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: The reports of theft are very alarming. They thought all photocards are worth ₱50,000. ₱350 is not even easy to earn.]

Collecting photocards and other K-pop merchandise could be really expensive, but Eli said she finds ways to save up money for her collection.

She said she previously worked as a barista in her aunt's small business. Eli added that she sometimes sells some of her photocards, and saves a portion from her allowance.

"Never po ako humingi kay mama pag dating sa mga gantong bagay. Pinaghihirapan ko po muna bago ko mabili yung merch na gusto ko and yung ibang merch ko regalo sa akin ng fam ko," she said.

[Translation: I never asked my mom for money when it comes to this stuff. I work hard to buy the merch that I want and some of them were gifted by my family.]

For now, Eli said she will no longer bring any of her K-pop collections out in public.

"To all the K-pop fans and collectors like me out there, sana magdoble ingat po tayo. As much as we want na ipakita sa mundo yung mga pcs (photocards) na pinaghirapan natin pauwiin, 'di na muna natin magagawa," she advised.

[Translation: To all K-pop fans and collectors like me, be extra careful nowadays. As much as we want to show our photocards that we worked hard for, we cannot do it for now.]