Kim, Trump impersonators draw ire of Vietnam's authorities

2019-02-23 22:01
U.S. President Donald Trump impersonator Russell White, left, and Kim Jong-un impersonator Howard X pose for photos outside the Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Minh Hoang, AP)

U.S. President Donald Trump impersonator Russell White, left, and Kim Jong-un impersonator Howard X pose for photos outside the Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Minh Hoang, AP)

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Vietnamese authorities are not amused by the antics of two impersonators of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

The duo has been making rounds of Hanoi, taking pictures with curious onlookers ahead of the second summit of the two leaders next week.

However, late on Friday, a Kim lookalike, the Hong Kong-based impersonator who uses the name Howard X, posted on Facebook that about 15 police or immigration officers demanded a mandatory "interview" with them following a talk they gave at the state-run VTC station.

"They then said that this was a very sensitive time in the city due to the Trump/Kim summit and that our impersonation was causing a 'disturbance' and ... suggested that we do not do the impersonation in public for the duration of our stay as these presidents have many enemies and that it was for our own safety."

According to Howard X, there was a back-and-forth with an unnamed Vietnamese officer who "did not seem pleased with my answer" and threatened the impersonators with deportation, saying they were breaking immigration rules. Finally, he said they were driven back to their hotel and told to stay put until authorities decide how to treat them.

"Although I am not surprised that I got detained for doing my impersonation in Vietnam, it's still pretty annoying. What it shows is that Vietnam has a long way to go before they will be a developed country and I wonder if they ever will under these conditions," he wrote on his Facebook page. "If the Vietnamese authorities are willing to give this kind of harassment over something as trivial as an impersonation to a high profile foreigner, imagine what all the Vietnamese artists, musicians, film producers and all the political activists have to endure for simply wanting to release a controversial film, songs or for simply speaking up about real injustices in this country."

Vietnam is a tightly controlled communist country that tolerates no dissent.

Howard X was also questioned by Singaporean immigration authorities when he and his colleague appeared in the city-state for the first Kim-Trump summit last June.

The impersonator's real name is Lee Howard Ho Wun.

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Read more on:    kim jong un  |  donald rump  |  vietnam
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