SINGAPORE: Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, has not entered Singapore since 2000, based on “known identifiers" such as his name and date of birth, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday (Aug 28).
Controversy has been swirling after it was reported last Wednesday that the Singapore-born Kwan, whose best-selling novel led to the hit film adaptation of the same name, had defaulted on his National Service (NS) obligations after failing to register for NS in 1990.
Mr Kwan also implied in media interviews that he had returned to Singapore occasionally.
“As far as we can ascertain, there are no records of him having entered Singapore since 2000, based on his known identifiers (e.g. name and date of birth),” MHA told Channel NewsAsia.
“As travel records prior to 2000 have been archived on microfilm, it would require a massive manual search through voluminous records to ascertain if he had entered Singapore before 2000.”
According to reports, Kwan had lived in Singapore until he was 11 before emigrating to Houston, Texas, and is now an American citizen. But MHA said Kwan is still a Singapore citizen as it had rejected his previous attempts to renounce his citizenship.
Singapore does not allow dual citizenship.
"Singapore is a small nation. It is important that our citizens have a firm commitment to build a future here together," the ministry said.
Allowing dual citizenship would "dilute" this commitment, MHA added.
READ: 'A private matter': Crazy Rich Asians actors react to news that author Kevin Kwan defaulted on NS obligations
"Since Kevin Kwan has not discharged his National Service duties, his previous attempts to renounce his Singapore citizenship were rejected, and the Government has not deprived Kwan of his citizenship," said a spokesperson from MHA.
“Kwan remains a Singapore citizen who is wanted for defaulting on his National Service obligations, and will be arrested if he enters Singapore."
Crazy Rich Asians, a book about the lives of extremely wealthy Chinese living in Singapore, became a bestseller in 2013. The Warner Bros movie adaptation was largely filmed in Singapore and included nearly 300 Singaporeans or Singaporean permanent residents as crew members.
Mr Kwan, an executive producer for the film, could be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to three years for defaulting NS.