The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declared yesterday (28 Aug) that there are no records of Kevin Kwan, author of the best-selling novel "Crazy Rich Asians" which has spurred a film adaptation this year, entering Singapore for the past 18 years.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, the Ministry said that the discovery was made based on "known identifiers" such as his name and date of birth.
“As travel records prior to 2000 have been archived on microfilm, it would require a massive manual search through voluminous records to ascertain if he had entered Singapore before 2000,” the Ministry explained.
Mr Kwan, who is now a citizen of the United States of America, is wanted by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) for allegedly defaulting on his National Service obligations, despite multiple reminders even after his permanent departure from the country.
Speaking to The Straits Times, Mindef noted that "Mr Kevin Kwan had failed to register for National Service (NS) in 1990, despite notices and letters sent to his overseas address".
"He also stayed overseas without a valid exit permit. Mr Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations," said Mindef.
Mindef noted that "his application and subsequent appeal to renounce his Singapore citizenship without serving NS were rejected" in 1994.
Prior to his emigration to the United States, he was born in Singapore and had lived in the Republic up to the age of 11.
Previously, Mr Kwan was reported as saying in an interview with The Straits Times that he "does not return to Singapore often".
Should he be found guilty under the Enlistment Act, Mr Kwan is bound to pay a fine of up to $10,000 and/or face imprisonment of up to three years.