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380,000 flock to WeAJa markets

Oct 23,2017
Hundreds of thousands of people across the nation visited the JoongAng Media Network’s 13th annual WeAJa charity flea market on Sunday in Seoul, Busan, Daegu and Daejeon, buying secondhand goods, participating in auctions of items donated by celebrities and participating in a variety of entertainment programs on the sidelines.

Some 380,000 visitors were tallied across the four locations, including 200,000 in Seoul, 100,000 in Busan, 50,000 in Daegu and 30,000 in Daejeon.

The proceeds from the four flea markets, about 124 million won ($110,000) - approximately 58.5 million won from Seoul, 29.5 million won from Busan, 21 million won from Daegu and 15 million won from Daejeon - will be donated to We Start and the Beautiful Store Foundation to help children in low-income families obtain education and medical care.

The WeAJa charity has raised around 1.7 billion won in total since kicking off in 2005.

The prototypes for a pair of watches featuring President Moon’s signature sold for 4.2 million won in the Seoul auction, the highest amount. The donation of the first-ever “Moon Jae-in watches,” usually given out as a souvenir to Blue House visitors, was made by Im Jong-seok, presidential chief of staff.

Moon Jae-in watches cost around 40,000 won in prdocution but are sold for as much as 2 million by re-sellers online because they are in limited supply. Only 1,000 are made each month.

The winning bidder refused to disclose his name or profession, saying only, “Anything that’s first edition is good. I purchased the watch because the fact that it was the first meant that it’s really significant.”

An elementary school student jumped with joy after her mother’s 2.4 million won bid for a cap once owned by Kang Daniel of boy group Wanna One won the auction. “I’m so psyched!” the girl said, who asked not to be named. “I’m an ardent fan of Kang Daniel!”

This year’s WeAJa flea market was held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Song Sang-hyeon Square in Busan, Gukchaebosang Memorial Park in Daegu and Boramae Park in Daejeon.

Donations were made by an array of high-profile figures, including President Moon and the first lady, Kim Jung-sook; idol groups Bangtan Boys (BTS), Super Junior and Twice; actors Lee Byung-hun, Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook; actresses Gong Hyo-jin and Park Shin-hye; football star Lee Dong-gook and female solo artist IU, among others.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]