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Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan has not entered S’pore since 2000: MHA

SINGAPORE — Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, who was born in Singapore and set his best-selling novel here, has not entered Singapore since 2000, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which cited its records.

Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan has not entered S’pore since 2000: MHA

Author Kevin Kwan posing at the premiere for "Crazy Rich Asians" in Los Angeles, California on Aug 7, 2018.

SINGAPORE — Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, who was born in Singapore and set his best-selling novel here, has not entered Singapore since 2000, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which cited its records.

That was ascertained based on "known identifiers (e.g. name and date of birth)", said the ministry in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 28).

"As travel records prior to 2000 have been archived on microfilm, it would require a massive manual search through voluminous records to ascertain if he had entered Singapore before 2000," added MHA.

The ministry was responding to two readers' letters published by The Straits Times last Saturday on Mr Kwan, with one questioning how the 44-year-old had managed to evade authorities for so long. This was after the Ministry of Defence revealed last week that Mr Kwan is wanted here for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations.

The Crazy Rich Asians hit movie based on Mr Kwan's book was filmed extensively in Singapore and featured a handful of local actors in prominent roles. The author himself had implied in interviews that he has returned to Singapore occasionally, and that he hunts for wanton mee during those visits.

However, Mr Kwan was noticeably absent at the Asian premiere of the movie in Singapore last week, which saw the cast and local-born stars such as Mr Henry Golding, Mr Pierre Png, Ms Tan Kheng Hua and Ms Fiona Xie gracing the red carpet.

While Mr Kwan remains a Singapore citizen despite gaining American citizenship, the MHA said Singapore does not allow dual citizenship as the Republic is a small nation and it would "dilute" citizens' "firm commitment to build a future here together".

The Government has not deprived Mr Kwan of his Singapore citizenship as he "has not discharged his national service duties". His previous attempts to renounce his Singapore citizenship were also rejected.

The MHA also noted that Mr Kwan would be arrested if he enters Singapore.

After spending his early years in Singapore living in the Bukit Timah area and attending Anglo Chinese School (Primary), Mr Kwan emigrated with his family to Texas when he was 11.

He later acquired American citizenship and graduated from the University of Houston.

Crazy Rich Asians, which was produced on a modest US$30 million (S$40.99 million) budget, has since exceeded box office expectations with a five-day tally of US$34 million when it opened in 3,384 locations.

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