'Personal reasons' prompt Sitala to leave H1-KEY

Sitala: Criticised for parents' PDRC links (Photo: h1key_official Instagram)

Sitala Wongkrachang, a daughter of late actor and director-turned-activist Saran­yu Wongkrachang, has left her Korean girl group, citing personal reasons, says the South Korean label GLG.

The online media outlet Allkpop said GLG (Grandline Group) had announced the departure of Sitala from H1-KEY.

According to an English translation of the statement, the group said Sitala had left the team for "personal reasons".

It said the agency had discussed the matter with Sitala and with the group's other three members.

The decision was reached after a thorough review of the overall situation.

The label apologised for concerns caused by Sitala's sudden departure and asked for words of encouragement for her and the rest of H1-KEY.

In Thailand, #Luk Nang (Sitala's nickname) was among the top trending items with more than 58,000 tweets as of Wednesday.

Sitala is one of the twin daughters of Saranyu, a supporter of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and Hatthaya, an actor and DJ.

Sitala graduated from Ewha Womans University, one of South Korea's most prestigious schools and the world's largest women's university. She debuted with girl group H1-KEY on Jan 5 with the release of their first album Athletic Girl.

Sitala was embroiled in controversy from the start of the group's promotion last December amid raised concerns over her family's support of PDRC rallies in 2013-2014 against the Pheu Thai-led administration that was subsequently toppled by the 2014 coup.

Photos of Sitala and her family with image of a whistle -- a PDRC rally symbol -- were widely shared across social media and drew criticism from some fans.

On Dec 9 last year, GLG announced Sitala would remain in the group, saying they could not hold her accountable "on the basis of her father's past decisions and actions that were beyond her responsibility".

The label said it had considered various contexts and the background to understand the situation better and apologised to those affected.


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