POP STOP

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 14

The Million Star Gang (星光幫) has dominated gossip rags for months now, and Pop Stop has been nothing if not indefatigable in following the group's struggle to stay fresh. The motley crew has taken publicity stunts to a new melodramatic level and now, in the latest installment, gang leader Aska Yang (楊宗緯) is being portrayed as a prince charming, involved in a love triangle with a gay twist, involving members Sharon Li (李宣榕) and Peter Pan (潘裕文).

After taking a trip together to Hong Kong and Shanghai last week, Yang and Li appeared to be showbiz's latest item. The couple wined, dined, shopped, went sightseeing and was tailed by hordes of tabloid reporters during what looked like a vacation the late Princess Diana would have been proud of. Savvy members of the press pack didn't buy the story of innocent love, however, and suggested that Yang was using Li as a "beard," to cover up his infatuation with Pan, who reportedly snapped over the insinuation.

Yang flew into a press feeding frenzy when he returned to Taipei last Friday and after failing to shake off his pursuers, the star invited reporters for a group talk on the playground at Yuan Ze University (元智大學), Jhongli (中壢).

Yang's tactic, apparently, was to talk the reporters to death with endless gripes and moans.

According to a private ranking compiled by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), Jay Chou (周杰倫) won first place as local tabloid reporters' worst nightmare for his drifting interview technique and collection of 10 speedy cars.

Chou's rival in the speed stakes is local actor and professional race car driver Jimmy Lin (林志穎). The self-dubbed Michael Schumacher of the Chinese-speaking entertainment firmament, Lin once boasted that paparazzi would have to buy a racer and hire a professional driver before they could even think of having him tailed.

Hong Kong's Aaron Kwok (郭富城) came in third for his five Ferraris and three Lamborghinis. It is said that whenever there is a belle in one of Kwok's cars, the chances of the far less well-equipped paparazzi catching up to the star's taillight is extremely slim.

On a melancholy note, ABT pop star Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) is suspected to be suffering from depression after canceling 20 publicity events, six album-signing gatherings and one nearly sold-out concert. Even veteran gossipmongers are lost for a cause of Wang's woes as his career has been on a stratospheric trajectory of late.

The star's agent issued a statement denying the speculation, and emphasized that while Wang did go to the hospital, he visited the shenching (神經), or neurosurgery, department for severe back problems, and not the chingshen (精神), or psychiatry department.