In Depth

Kim Jong Un impersonator stuns North Korean cheerleaders

Lookalike ‘Howard’ gatecrashed stand hosting Pyongyang’s elite cheer squad

A Kim Jong Un impersonator danced and waved in front of a phalanx of shocked North Korean cheerleaders yesterday before being hustled away by handlers and police.

The impersonator, who goes by the name “Howard”, gatecrashed the stand where the 230-strong squad - the breakout viral hit of the PyeongChang Games - were cheering on North Korea in an ice hockey match against Japan.

Howard, who describes himself as an Australian national living in Hong Kong, “was said to have briefly fooled some of the cheer team from the North” with his surprise appearance, USA Today reports.

However, the jig was clearly up by the time bystanders managed to get their phones and cameras out. Photos and video show some of the cheerleaders looking horrified, while others appear to studiously gaze away as North Korean handlers escort Howard out of the stand.

Howard told Yahoo Sports he was kicked in the shins and “pulled up his overcoat to display scuff marks on his slacks”, the website reports.

A musician by day, Howard has been moonlighting as the North Korean dictator’s doppelganger since 2013, says USA Today.

He had already gone viral at the Winter Games after pairing up with Donald Trump impersonator Dennis Alan, also a musician by trade.

The unlikely duo attracted a flurry of press attention on the day of the opening ceremony. Clad in a long dark coat and a red “Make America Great Again” cap, the pair strolled around the Pyeongchang Stadium in character, shaking hands and posing for selfies, until being escorted out.

Kim Jong Un Donald Trump impersonators PyeongChang 2018

Alan, a 67-year-old from Chicago who started a second career as a Trump impersonator after the 2016 election, says that he does not intend to make a political statement with his appearance at the Games.

Howard, by contrast, hopes his satirical stunts will contribute towards bringing peace to the peninsular. “I have an advantage to advance this cause,” he told Yahoo Sports. “I was born with this face.”

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