Kim Jong-un lookalike joins rights protest

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 5:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 5:00am

With lofty ideals but humble expectations, a small group of Hong Kong campaigners opposed to China's repatriation of North Korean defectors to face the brutality of the Pyongyang regime set out to protest - led by a most unlikely face.

Members of NK Defectors Concern had hoped to attract between 10 and 20 people to their protest outside the North Korean consulate in Wan Chai but managed just five, despite hiring the world's first Kim Jong-un lookalike to lead them.

Undeterred, the group marched from Wan Chai MTR station to the nearby China Resources Building where the consulate is found. They were not allowed in, but shouted slogans.

Owen Lau Kwun-hang, one of four co-founders of the group, said: "We hope the Hong Kong public learn more about the Kim Jong-un regime's breach of human rights."

The small group focuses on issues surrounding the repatriation of North Koreans who defect to China. It calls on Pyongyang to improve human rights and immediately abolish prison camps.

Lau said there had been signs that since Kim succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, almost two years ago, camps for political prisoners had further expanded.

The Kim lookalike, a Hong Kong-born Australian who lives in the city and goes by only his first name, Howard, said Kim's execution of his powerful uncle Jang Song-thaek was "a really bad move".

Kim "seems to be acting like how Stalin or Hitler was acting", Howard said. "And his uncle, if the reports are correct, seemed to want to develop the country like China - it's not such a bad thing.

"China has gone from a third-world country to almost a developed country where everybody is pretty much well fed."

Howard, whose growing fame has led to offers of work around the world, urged China to "show compassion" and "be humane" in its treatment of defectors.

"As China is a world citizen, it is extremely uncompassionate to do something like this," he said, adding that China had helped many Jews during the second world war.

In March last year, Beijing prompted an outcry when it returned 31 North Koreans it arrested. Most recently, an aide to Jang was reported to be holed up in Beijing under the protection of South Korean officials.