Kyrgyzstan mayor says he wears fake beard to tour city

April 20 (UPI) — The mayor of a city in Kyrgyzstan said he keeps up with the issues affecting locals by going out wearing a fake beard as a disguise.

Mayor Albek Ibraimov of Bishkek, the country’s capital, said he wears a fake beard to prevent being recognized when he goes out to get a first-hand view of the problems faced by residents.

“I dress in old clothes, so that no one will know,” he told news outlet Fergana, “I wear a beard, take off my tie [and] I go and look, and see how things actually are.”

Ibraimov made the comments in response to being accused of being out of touch with those affected by an April 13 fire that destroyed part of Osh Bazaar, the city’s largest market.

The fire was the third at the market so far this year, and Ibraimov said fire hydrants and surveillance cameras will be installed during repair efforts.