A man impersonating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un disrupted the Australian election campaign after he burst into an event that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was attending.
The impersonator, who later identified himself by the stage name Howard X, started talking to gathered media about the candidate Mr Morrison was backing at the Melbourne event, Gladys Liu.
“Thank you very much. Gladys Liu is the communist candidate for Australia,” the lookalike said, before he was interrupted by an aide to Mr Morrison, Nick Creevey.
“Excuse me, you are going to have to leave. This is the most offensive thing I have ever seen in a campaign,” Mr Creevey said.
The impersonator responded: “Excuse me, you don’t tell the supreme leader what to do. I support Gladys Liu.”
The impersonator left the Melbourne venue soon after.
Ms Liu said she was focused on delivering outcomes for the Melbourne communities she represents.
“I will not be distracted by my opponents and their grubby tactics,” she said.
Ms Liu was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Australia for more than 30 years.
The disruption appears to have been orchestrated in part by Queensland State senate candidate Drew Pavlou, who said on social media that he was good friends with Howard X and it was “one of the best things we have ever managed”.
Mr Pavlou had earlier claimed in posts that Ms Liu had defended China’s leadership and had ties to the regime.
He described himself as a “young larrikin” who thought the election was boring and needed more excitement.
During the event at Extel Technologies in Melbourne, Mr Morrison praised Chinese Australians.
“I talk about the assertive and aggressive nature of the Chinese government, not the Chinese people,” Mr Morrison said.
“You know, Chinese Australians are the greatest patriots you could hope for in this country.”
The disruption came at a time of heightened tensions between Australia and China, most recently over a security pact that China signed with the Solomon Islands.
Howard X is well known for his impersonation of Kim Jong Un.
In 2018, he was detained and questioned when he arrived in Singapore days before a summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump. His real name is Lee Howard Ho Wun.
The impersonator is being interviewed by police, according to reports.
Australia’s election will be held on May 21 and early voting began this week.
Opinion polls have the centre-left opposition Labour Party tracking ahead of Mr Morrison’s conservative coalition.
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