'Crazy Rich Asians' author wanted in Singapore for dodging military service

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The author of the book “Crazy Rich Asians”, which inspired the Hollywood hit film of the same title, is wanted in his home country of Singapore for defaulting on his military service, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Author Kevin Kwan (R) and cast members Henry Golding and Constance Wu pose at the premiere for "Crazy Rich Asians" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

Kevin Kwan, author of the 2013 book and an executive producer of the film, was notably absent from the Singapore premier of the romantic comedy on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Defence said Kwan had failed to register for National Service (NS) in 1990, despite notices and letters sent to his overseas address, and he had also stayed overseas without a valid exit permit.

“Mr Kwan is therefore wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations,” the ministry said in a statement.

He was liable to a fine of up to S$10,000 ($7,315) “and/or imprisonment of up to 3 years upon conviction”, the ministry said.

Kwan could not be reached for comment.

Singapore has a strict law on national service for all male citizens and enforces it with few exceptions. It makes it illegal for men to give up citizenship without having completed their military service, of about two years.

Kwan left Singapore at age 11, first moving to Texas with his family, and has lived in the United States since then, Singapore media said.

His 1994 application to renounce his Singapore citizenship and a subsequent appeal had been rejected, the ministry said.

Kwan’s book and the film directed by Jon M. Chu depict Singapore as a playground for the super-rich in a story about an Asian-American woman who goes to the city state to meet her boyfriend’s wealthy family.

Kwan himself comes from a prominent Singapore family.

His great grandfather was a founding director of the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation - Singapore’s oldest bank.

Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Robert Birsel