PICTURES

Seeing double: Kim Jong Un lookalike turns heads in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-born Australian musician Howard, dressed as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, poses with a Chinese tourist outside Louis Vuitton store in a Hong Kong shopping district, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard,
Hong Kong-born Australian musician Howard, dressed as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, poses with a Chinese tourist outside Louis Vuitton store in a Hong Kong shopping district, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A 35-year-old Hong Kong-born Australian musician, who identified himself as Howard, has his haircut to imitate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician,
A 35-year-old Hong Kong-born Australian musician, who identified himself as Howard, has his haircut to imitate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's m
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A woman waves to a Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, during a photocall in Hong Kong's downtown, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of
A woman waves to a Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, during a photocall in Hong Kong's downtown, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's m
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
An impersonator of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who identified himself only as Howard, poses for the media in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the w
An impersonator of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who identified himself only as Howard, poses for the media in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
An impersonator of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who identified himself only as Howard, poses with a tourist in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the
An impersonator of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who identified himself only as Howard, poses with a tourist in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, talks on phone during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, talks on phone during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong, on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, walks past the Louis Vuitton store in a Hong Kong shopping district, during a photocall on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to tra
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, walks past the Louis Vuitton store in a Hong Kong shopping district, during a photocall on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, walks in downtown Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictat
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, walks in downtown Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's mo
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in downtown Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, gets a photo taken with a Chinese tourist as he appears as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on  Nov 27, 201
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, gets a photo taken with a Chinese tourist as he appears as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on  Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, gets make-up applied before turning into a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike at a hair salon in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, gets make-up applied before turning into a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike at a hair salon in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, poses before having a haircut and make-up applied to turn himself into a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike at a hair salon in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTER
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, poses before having a haircut and make-up applied to turn himself into a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike at a hair salon in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, poses as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike with a journalist on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, poses as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike with a journalist on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, visits a boutique selling luxury goods while appearing as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- F
Australian-Chinese Howard, 34, who does not disclose his last name, visits a boutique selling luxury goods while appearing as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Australian-Chinese Howard (front left), 34, who does not disclose his last name, talks on the mobile phone as he appears as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- FIL
Australian-Chinese Howard (front left), 34, who does not disclose his last name, talks on the mobile phone as he appears as a North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lookalike on a street at Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on Nov 27, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notori
A Kim Jong Un impersonator, who identified himself as Howard, poses during a photocall in Hong Kong on Nov 27, 2013. A haircut and some make-up was all it took for Howard, a Hong Kong musician, to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators. -- PHOTO: AP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - A haircut and some makeup was all it took for a Hong Kong musician to transform himself into one of the world's most notorious dictators, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

When Kim inherited power from his dead father, friends teased the Australian-Chinese musician about his resemblance to the world's youngest leader.

"We joked back and forth 'Maybe I should get dressed up and do some gigs with it'. After all, I'm a musician, so it's about the performance," said Howard, who declined to give his surname in order to keep his music and impersonation careers separate.

He turned heads and drew giggles this week when he paraded down the streets of a popular shopping district in Hong Kong.

During the arranged media shoot, he jokingly waved at wide-eyed passersby and posed with a pornographic magazine for photos.

"Is he the real one or is he just impersonating? I can't tell them apart. He really looks like him," said Hong Kong resident Ada Ho.

At 34, Howard is older and taller than 30-year-old Kim, but they share many facial similarities. Howard has bushier eyebrows and weighs less, but he joked that he would work on that.

On April Fools' Day, the drummer-turned-music producer chopped off his hair and, realising he could make something out of the resemblance, set up a Facebook page.

Within weeks, an Israeli production company contacted him and flew him to Tel Aviv for a hamburger commercial to rival a competitor's ad that featured an impersonator of United States (US) President Barack Obama.

The clip, in which the imitation Kim abandons his plan to bomb Israel after enjoying its delicious burgers, got 400,000 online views in a country of 8 million people, Howard said.

Then came more job requests. Howard said he was asked to do an ad for a pistachio company with Dennis Rodman, a retired professional basketball player who calls the reclusive North Korean leader his friend, but the plan fell apart when he could not get his US work visa in time.

Howard, who charges HK$5,000 (S$808) for party appearances, said being a Kim doppelganger can be a funny experience but he also hopes to stir up dialogue about North Korea and its human rights issues.

"I don't really have to do anything to create awareness. Just my presence," he said. "It brings the issue up in a light-hearted way. It's important to know about this country... If they launch a missile, it could start World War Three."