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British Band Cuts Short Asian Tour

March 19, 2001

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ The British boy band a1 left Indonesia on Monday, cutting short an Asian tour after four girls were killed in a mall stampede to get their autographs.

The group, which had been scheduled to stay in Indonesia through Wednesday, called off a news conference Monday, saying they were devastated by the tragedy, and flew to Singapore, a spokesman for the band said.

Jakarta was the last stop on the group’s tour to promote their new album, ’The A List.″

In the Sunday stampede, four teen-age girls were crushed to death and two others injured when about 3,000 fans packed a record store at the Taman Anggrek mall where the band was signing autographs.

Panic broke out when some tried to escape the crush by rushing the shop’s exits.

Police charged the two organizers of the mall appearance with criminal neglect on Monday.

The Indonesian director of the band’s record label, Sony Music Entertainment, Sutanto Hartono, said the event’s organizers thought they had taken adequate precautions to control the crowd, which, he said, was much larger than expected.

In the Philippines, the band was forced to cancel an appearance at a music store after some 20,000 fans turned up instead of an expected 1,000.

In a statement, the band members said they were ``shocked and deeply sorrowed by the tragedy″ and offered ``heartfelt prayers and condolences to the bereaved families.″

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