3,000 fans turn up to welcome BigBang singer G-Dragon's return to civilian life after army stint

G-Dragon looks at fans who came to greet his discharge from mandatory military service at a military base in Yongin, South Korea, on Oct 26, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Fans of BTS are hoping that the South Korean boy band's global momentum will not be derailed by singer Jin's military-duty enlistment.

Talk has it that he is slated to be called up by year-end.

But for fans of another mega boy group, BigBang, they have reason to feel more cheerful.

G-Dragon wrapped up his compulsory army stint on Saturday (Oct 26) while two other members - Daesung and Taeyang - are set to be discharged in November.

On Saturday, some 3,000 fans turned up to welcome G-Dragon back to civilian life.

After bowing to them in appreciation of their support, with some fans said to have waited for hours, he said via a megaphone: "I want to thank you all for waiting for me, and also thank you for coming today."

"Now that I am no longer a soldier, I will now return to my career as a singer and give my best efforts," he added, wiping away tears at one point.

The authorities used a different venue for the discharge, with his camp, close to the border with North Korea, sited in an area that has seen reports of African swine fever.

The large fan turnout will reassure G-Dragon, who enlisted in 2018, that he still commands a following, despite being dogged by some negative talk that he received preferential treatment while he was serving his military stint.

In Shanghai, Chinese fans even managed to plaster G-Dragon's face on the facade of the Shanghai Twin Towers.

But even as BigBang fans hope that the group can quickly return to music again, there has also been speculation that G-Dragon may decide to forge a solo path instead.

Some pundits think that even though Seungri has left BigBang because of allegations linking him to drug-taking and criminal breach of trust, the brand name has been tarnished and G-Dragon could well choose to start a new roar outside the group.

If that decision puts paid to the second coming of BigBang, BTS fans can start to feel calmer now.

They are also counting on talk of BTS members getting exemption from army duty - because of their stellar record of conquering music charts worldwide - coming true.

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