Singapore deports South Korean media staff as Trump-Kim summit security tightens

Singapore deports South Korean media staff as Trump-Kim summit security tightens
Singaporean policemen stand guard at a media centre for the summit between the U.S and North Korea.
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - Two staff from South Korea's national broadcaster have been deported from Singapore after they were arrested for trespassing at the home of the North Korean ambassador to the city-state, police said on Sunday.

The news, just days before a high stakes summit between US and North Korean leaders in the city-state, came as Singapore's home minister said a man had been denied entry to the country on Saturday because he had searched "suicide bombing" on his phone.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un landed in Singapore on Sunday ahead of a summit that could that could end a nuclear stand-off between the old foes and transform his secretive, impoverished country. US President Donald Trump is due to land later on Sunday evening.

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TWO SOUTH KOREANS ARRESTED FOR CRIMINAL TRESPASS REPATRIATED The Police, in consultation with the Attorney-General’s...

Posted by Singapore Police Force on Sunday, 10 June 2018

"The visit passes of the two South Korean men have been cancelled, and they have been repatriated to the Republic of Korea on 9 June 2018," police said in a statement on Sunday.

The two men were staff of KBS, the national public broadcaster of South Korea that operates radio, television and online services.

Earlier on Sunday, home minister K. Shanmugam told reporters that some people had been prevented from entering Singapore.

"Yesterday, we had someone from a regional country who our ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) officers... when they searched through his handphone, he had been searching suicide bombing."

READ ALSO: Singapore denies entry to Batam resident over Islamic State video

Shanmugam said a handful of other people had also been denied entry in recent days on security grounds, but declined to comment further.

The Trump-Kim meeting will cost about S$20 million to host, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told local media on Sunday, a large chunk of that expected to be on security on the highest profile event the city-state has ever hosted.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives in Singapore for summit

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    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the first time on Sunday.

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    The two leaders exchanged broad smiles and warm thank-yous when they met at the Istana.

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    Kim thanked Singapore for hosting the historic summit between him and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

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    North Korea's capacity for distraction and sleight of hand was on show Sunday as leader Kim Jong Un flew to Singapore for his summit with US President Donald Trump.

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    No fewer than three aircraft made their way to Singapore from Pyongyang airport, a facility that frequently sees fewer than three international flights a day. Instead, he flew on an Air China Boeing 747.

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    In Singapore, its high-profile passenger was met by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Kim, who wore a dark lapel-less suit.

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    Kim was driven into the city-state in a convoy of more than 20 vehicles, including an ambulance, with North Korean television cameramen filming his progress through the sunroofs.

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    Reporters and photographers packed the pavements outside the St Regis hotel where Kim was to stay. Covers had been hung over the driveway and hotel security brought out additional potted plants to obstruct the view of the lobby.

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    Located just off Singapore's diplomatic district and a stone's throw away from the Orchard Road shopping belt, the modernist St Regis is tucked between an ageing building dotted with carpet shops and a sleepy high-end neighbourhood mall.

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    On the 20th floor, the ostentatiously opulent 335-square metre Presidential Suite, where Kim was believed likely to stay, features a Marc Chagall artwork and a white baby grand piano.

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    Its rooms are "lined with gold, and accented with precious metals like brass, onyx and silver", the hotel says on its website.

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    It does not give prices but the list price of a similar facility in New York is $35,000 a night.

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    Who will pick up the bill for the North Koreans' stay has been the subject of much speculation

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    Pyongyang has a history of trying to have others pay for its travel -- Seoul paid for its delegates to this year's Winter Olympics in the South.

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    But a Seoul presidential spokesman said it was "not considering it at all at the moment", while the US has insisted it will not foot the bill -- and is not asking anyone else to do so.

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    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Sunday his government was spending around S$20 million to host the summit, around half of it on security.

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    "It's a cost that we are willing to pay. It's our contribution to an international endeavour which is in our profound interests," he said.

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    A North Korean cameraman is chased by media outside St Regis hotel, in Singapore

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