SINGAPORE - The arrest of former Singapore Idol winner Hady Mirza has shocked the entertainment community here, even as many noted the 38-year-old had distanced himself from the music industry which showered him with accolades and adoration.
The authorities have not provided details of Hady's arrest, but a report by The New Paper on July 31 said Hady, who was spotted in the Changi Prison Complex, was arrested for drug offences.
He is believed to have been hauled up at a land crossing in Singapore, and is currently in a Drug Rehabilitation Centre.
Home Team agencies conduct checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contraband. Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers are stationed at the land crossings and conduct specific checks when a suspected drug offence is involved.
Hady first came into the spotlight as the winner of the second season of reality television singing contest Singapore Idol in 2006. In the following year, he beat regional contestants and won the Asian Idol competition in Jakarta.
He released two albums and won several awards at regional Malay music awards show, Anugerah Planet Muzik and was the biggest winner with three awards in the 2011 edition.
In 2013, he left the entertainment industry and became a youth mentor, forming FRHM Youth, which organises religious classes and sports activities.
He started an F&B business selling snacks and beverages in 2016 and was last in the news after a post about the star becoming a Grab driver went viral on social media last year (2017).
Winner of the first Singapore Idol show in 2004, Taufik Batisah, who is also signed with Hady's former artiste management arm, ArtisteNetworks, was surprised to read about his arrest.
They had performed together and even released a joint album, Kenangan Di Hari Raya (Memories Of Hari Raya), in 2011. But they lost touch a few years ago.
He said: "I only learnt of (the arrest) today when I saw the news," he told The Straits Times. "The last time I bumped into him was at a pop-up store event at Downtown East during Ramadan.
"It was really good to see him after a long while. No matter what, I pray for the best for him and his family and I do hope everyone will too."
Mr Yusnor Ef, president of Perkamus, the association of Malay singers, composers and professional musicians, was "saddened" by the reports of Hady's arrest.
"He is very talented both as a singer and songwriter. I haven't spoken with him in a few years but my impression of him is as someone of good character and I always thought he had a bright future ahead of him."
A spokesman for ArtisteNetworks, a subsidiary of Hype Records, said that the company has not been in touch with the singer since his contract with them ended "many years ago".
He added: "During the contractual period, we have always known Hady to be a good-natured individual. Like everyone else, we are dismayed to learn about his situation from the media."