LONDON – British police said Tuesday that they had intervened after North Korean embassy officials reportedly told a London hairdresser to take down a discount haircuts advert featuring leader Kim Jong Un.
Mo Nabbach said two officials identifying themselves members of the Stalinist state’s mission took pictures of his salon — the M&M Hair Academy in Ealing, west London.
They then demanded to know his name and ordered him to remove the “disrespectful” poster from the salon window, he told the Evening Standard newspaper.
The poster featured a large picture of Kim’s distinctive short-back-and-sides hairdo with the slogan: “Bad hair day? 15 percent off all gent cuts through the month of April.”
“I told them this is England and not North Korea and told them to get their lawyers,” the newspaper quoted Nabbach as saying.
“The two guys were wearing suits and they were very serious. It was very threatening.”
Nabbach, who is also a fashion photographer, said he had since removed the offending picture.
His son Karim said they had put up the poster in response to a recent unconfirmed story that North Korean men are now only allowed to wear the same haircut as their young leader, who took power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in December 2011.
“We didn’t realize but the North Korean Embassy is a 10-minute walk from the salon. The next day we had North Korean officials pop into the salon asking to speak to the manager,” he said.
“He (Mo Nabbach) went to Ealing Police Station afterwards to file a report just in case anything happened to the salon overnight. Apparently they (the apparent North Korean officials) went to the police as well.”
“We haven’t had any trouble since then, if anything the poster has become a tourist attraction. It was just something that had been in the news, and the North Korean officials didn’t even have the haircut.
“We always put up little offers in the window, it’s harmless. We were just making light of a bad situation in North Korea.”
Police confirmed that they had stepped in to resolve the issue.
“Officers spoke to both parties involved and no offense was disclosed,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.
There was no immediate response from the North Korean Embassy, located in a suburban London house less than 2 miles (3 km) from the salon.
The Kim family has ruled the country for more than six decades with an iron fist and a pervasive personality cult.
Kim Jong Un’s haircut is strikingly similar to that of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, reinforcing efforts by the young leader to project himself more in the image of the state’s founder leader than of his father.