The country’s Ministry of Defence has said the Crazy Rich Asians author is wanted for failing to report for military service.
The Ministry says that Kwan, 44, did not register for national service in 1990 despite being sent notices. He reportedly applied twice to renounce his citizenship at a later date, but was rejected as he had not served in the military. He could face up to three years in jail if he returns to Singapore. All Singaporean men over 18 are obliged to undertake two years of national service.
“Mr Kevin Kwan failed to register for NS in 1990 despite letters sent to his overseas address,” said the Ministry in a statement sent to the BBC. He also didn’t have the right permit for a long term stay overseas, the Ministry said. “Mr Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations,” the statement continued.
Kwan has yet to comment on the claim. We have reached out to his reps for comment.
The timing of the announcement is somewhat curious, just as Kwan is basking in the success of a ground-breaking hit in the U.S. but it comes after Singaporean media approached Government officials for comment on Kwan’s status.
The film had its Singapore premiere on Tuesday night ahead of local release on Wednesday but Kwan was not among the cast or crew in attendance.
According to Singapore newspaper The Straits Times, Kwan grew up in Singapore but left the country at the age of 11 and now lives in the U.S. Penalties for those returning to Singapore without having completed NS include fines of up to S$10,000 ($7,314) and three years in prison.
Bestseller Crazy Rich Asians, about an Asian-American woman who gets a culture shock meeting her boyfriend’s uber-wealthy family in Singapore, has hit home at the domestic box office and been hailed for featuring an all-Asian cast.
Audiences are expected to be good for the movie in a number of Asian markets but the pic isn’t without its critics of how Singapore and Singaporeans are portrayed.