Kim Jong Un impersonator gets snared in Singapore security net
If Singapore's reputation for tight security was one reason the real Kim Jong Un agreed to hold his summit with Donald Trump in the city-state, the fake Kim Jong Un now knows why.
A Hong Kong-based entertainer who impersonates the North Korean leader said he was detained at Changi Airport after returning to Singapore ahead of the historic summit planned for Tuesday, June 12. The impersonator, who would give only his stage name Howard X, said he was held by immigration authorities for two hours before being released and told to steer clear of summit venues.
"They asked me about what my political views were and if I had been involved with protests or riots in other countries," Howard X told Bloomberg News. "I feel they were trying to intimidate me, but if I got deported it would have been big news."
Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
The Southeast Asian financial hub has been bracing for the arrival of Trump and Kim -- and thousands of reporters -- next week, and has announced flight restrictions and police checkpoints around key meeting spots. Entrepreneurs have been scrambling to cash in on the international media spectacle, hawking Trump-Kim fusion burgers and summit-themed cocktails.
Howard X, who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Melbourne, attracted widespread media attention during an earlier visit to Singapore and is scheduled to make several appearances this weekend with Trump impersonator Dennis Alan. He said the duo has been offered sponsorships by local companies to attend publicity events.
"The original goal was to come and enjoy the historic moment and get into character," he said. "I hope the first priority of the real meeting is to have Kim stop shooting off missiles and destabilizing the region."
Howard X has split his time between his job as a music producer and his impersonation act since 2012. At the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea earlier this year, police dragged him out of an arena after he danced in front of North Korea's cheering squad.
Story by Melissa Cheok.