Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, is a unique executive in global politics. Few dictators wield such absolute power and rule so ruthlessly.
He oversees numerous prisons and labor camps comprised of his political opponents and their families.
Because of his human rights infractions and prickly foreign policy, North Korea’s economy is extremely weak.
Despite this, he manages to hoard the vast majority of the nation’s assets for himself. Today, we’re exploring how Kim Jong-un spends his billions.
Kim is often seen with numerous luxury rides. The cars are top of the line Mercedes Benzs popular with world leaders.
The Maybach S62 and Maybach S600 Pullman Guard, which cost $500000 to 1.6 million dollars each.
And Mr. Kim is using them in open defiance of United Nations sanctions intended to ban luxury goods from North Korea.
High end Western goods are making their way to North Korea’s elite through a complex system of port transfers, secret high seas shipping and shadowy front companies.
According to research by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a nonprofit Washington group that looks at smuggling networks and an investigation by The New York Times, Kim has bought lavish items from China and other places, like a sea plane for not only his own family and is also expensive musical instruments, high quality TVs, sedans, liquor, watches and fur as gifts for the elites who prop up his regime, an opposition parliament member said in a statement.
Apparently, these goods total more than $4 billion in the last four years. Kim Jong-un is not someone to take lightly.
On 12th December 2013, Kim ordered the execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, for treachery. Kim is widely believed to have ordered the assassination of his half brother, Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia in February 2017.
The same year, the North Korean government stated that the CIA of the United States and the South Korean National Intelligence Service hired a North Korean lumberjack who worked in Russia to assassinate Kim Jong-un with a biochemical weapon that was both radioactive and nano poisonous, and whose effect would have been delayed by a few months.
Since then, Kim has beefed up his already impressive security squad. His team is comprised of dozens of highly trained martial artists who jog alongside Kim’s limo when he travels.
One bizarre requirement being that they can’t be taller than pint-sized Kim, who is about 5 feet 5 inches. The mysterious bunch seem to appear from nowhere every time their leaders limo slows down.
They also seem to be able to choreograph themselves so that they always have a 360 degree view around Kim.
Whenever Kim travels, he flies with 2 decoy jets so that it’s unclear which plane he is actually traveling in. All in all, Kim is said to have 90000 soldiers at the ready to defend him personally at any moment.
Back in 2013, the eagle eyed hermit kingdom watchers at N.K. News noticed something unusual in the latest round of photos from North Korean news agency, KCNA. A luxury yacht mysteriously docked at the August 25th fishery station.
The image of a luxury yacht in North Korea might take some by surprise, given that U.N. Security Council blocked the sale of luxury goods to North Korea in 2006.
But in practice, there are a lot of ways around this law. Last year, a South Korean newspaper reported that young leader Kim Jong-un had dramatically increased the number of luxury goods imported into the country, including high end cars, TVs, computers, liquor and watches. Built by a British based Princess Yachts, the 95MY is a slightly earlier version of the 98MY, that the company presently sells for $8.7 million.
But it is no less sumptuous. Second hand versions of the 95MY go for up to $7 million. The vessel was spotted during a May visit to a fishery station covered by the state media.
A photograph released by state news agency KCNA showed Mr. Kim and his generals walking along the docks during an inspection. Behind them was a glimpse of the yatch.
With North Korean media output often heavily stage managed, N.K. News speculated it could well have been deliberately included in the photo. Expensive liquor is something that many want to treat themselves to, and North Korea supreme leader is no exception.
Specifically, Kim Jong-un’s favorite two drinks are whiskey and cognac, which he imports thousands of bottles from around the world for his own enjoyment.
The money he could have used to make improvements to the country is used for his own personal drinking habit. The dictator also has a taste for champagne and as expected, he only buys the finest options.
In an interview, a former associate mentions the Free Flowing Cristal which Jong-un would consume to excess. He recalls the dictator often downing two full bottles of Cristal in a single sitting.
MSN reports that Kim spends $30 million a year importing high quality liquors into the communist country to share among small executive circles. He apparently has a taste for whiskey and cognac, specifically Hennesy, which can cost over six thousand dollars for a high end bottle.
A report by the UK’s Metro in 2014 alleged that the North Korean dictator regularly indulges in snake wine, which is rumored to increase masculinity in the bedroom and improve the chance of pregnancy.
Apparently, Jong-un has a serious drinking habit. This is not good news for a man with access to so many nuclear armaments.
Kim Jong-un is a man known for his lavish appetites, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he has a fully equipped party island where he likes to entertain visitors.
The North Korean dictator has tricked the coastal compound out with a 200 foot pool boat, a seven million dollar yacht, waterslides, theme park rides and a full football pitch.
It is the venue where former NBA star Dennis Rodman was entertained back in 2013 when he was invited to the communist state.
The Chicago Bulls ace spent days with Jong-un drinking fine spirits, smoking expensive cigars and watching games of basketball, one of the glorious leader’s favorite sports.
Describing his experience there to The Sun, Rodman said, “but he’s the only one that lives there. He’s got 50 to 60 people around them all the time, just normal people drinking cocktails and laughing the whole time.
If you drink a bottle of tequila, it’s the best tequila. Everything you want, he has the best”. The compound was identified thanks to an image of Kim and Rodman enjoying a drink in a pool house.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the country should feed its soldiers better, according to state media KCNA on Wednesday after a defected North Korean soldiers health in 2018 highlighted nutrition problems in the isolated state.
On a visit to a military rations factory, Kim said it should produce tasty and nutritious food to substantially contribute to improving the diet of the service persons.
Of course, this is hypocritical because he chooses to live opulently while the average North Korean starves. While over 10 million North Koreans have suffered severe food shortages, a man has lived like a king.
Ahead of Jong-un’s summit with Donald Trump, the North Koreans hinted at Kim’s preference for fine cuisine such as caviar and lobster.
Despite restrictions on the import of such luxury items under sanctions designed to curb his nuclear weapons program, other favorites include emmental cheese, sushi, shark fin soup, Kobe steak, Brazilian coffee and lobster.
Because he was brought up as royalty and sent to a private school in Switzerland, Jong-un has never known a world outside his luxurious bubble, thus he is discontent with anything other than the finest food.
In 2018, Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore for his historic summit with Donald Trump. Private Ilyushin IL- 62M jet operated by state airline Air Koryo, flew into the Singapore airport and turned quite a few heads.
It’s a venerable Soviet era aircraft, 39 years old, to be precise. Former users of the IL-62 include Aeroflot, KLM, Air India, Cubana and Air France.
But all have long since retired it from their fleets. In fact, there are few older aircraft still in service anywhere on Earth. The model has a range of around 10000 kilometers, room for around 180 passengers and a wingspan of 43.2 metres.
The white exterior of the plane is emblazoned with North Korea’s official name in Korean on two sides with the national flag next to the text.
The tail features a red star inside red and blue circles. The aircraft has modern interiors, and Kim has occasionally been photographed working and holding meetings on board.
Kim previously used an eye IL-76 to transport his armored stretched Mercedes Benz limousine to Dalian, suggesting Sunday’s flight may have carried the same car to Singapore.
It was a luxury hotel of a kind the world had never seen before. The five star Four Seasons Barrier Reef Resort opened off the coast of Townsville, Australia in 1988 as the world’s first floating hotel featuring tennis courts, nightclubs, swimming pools, bars and restaurants, a helipad and almost 200 rooms across seven storeys.
The floating hotel was the height of 1980s luxury and put Townsville on the world map. But then Kim Jong-un decided to buy the boat as a gift for his country. In October 2019, it was reported that Kim Jong-un had visited the site and criticised the facilities being quoted as saying that, “they are not only very backward in terms of architecture, but look so shabby as they are not properly cared for”.
The buildings are just a hopscotch with no national character at all. He reportedly went on to say the unpleasant looking facilities should be removed and rebuilt to meet North Korea’s own sentiment and aesthetic taste.
As a result, the boat was destroyed. For this dictator, a gift to the people was returned before anyone could truly enjoy it.
The mysterious train that pulled into Beijing’s central train station in March 2019 is now known to have been carrying Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, who arrived in the capital for secret talks with his Chinese counterpart.
The train spotted in Beijing, 21 cars painted drab green, their windows tinted to obscure the identities of those on board, bore the hallmarks of the bullet proof private transports preferred by the mistrustful leaders of North Korea.
Both Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, the country’s former leaders, traveled in similar style on rare foreign trips, stoking decades of intrigue and interest about the trains.
Not much is known about the contents of the train, but previous accounts and footage show it to be filled with imported French wine, Apple computers and plush leather seats.
Photos from North Korean state media also provide a rare look inside the unusual vehicle. Like most of Kim Jong-un’s personal belongings, it is truly luxurious, even as his own citizens starve.
While it may be an impressive ride, he would be advised to spend more money rebuilding North Korea’s crumbling economy.
The North Korean leader who once went to school in Switzerland has made tourism a centerpiece of his economic vision since taking power almost a decade ago, building ski resorts to attract winter sports enthusiasts and hard currency.
He says that the resort is intended for people to enjoy high civilization under socialism.
In another example of the country using tourism exemptions and sanctions to build revenue for its broken economy, North Korea’s state TV showed aerial footage of the resort, including its red roofed hotels, hot spring spas, ski slope and horse riding park.
The broadcast showed thousands of soldiers and flag waving civilians and children welcoming Kim at the site, which he visited at least four times in 2019, according to state media.
He smiled as he toured the facilities, which included a solo chairlift ride above the ski slope. But with the Corona virus spreading in China, Kim has shut the border to his neighbor, cutting off the largest group of tourists to North Korea.
Worse still, like other snow centers from the French Alps to Japan, North Korea is falling victim to changing arctic weather patterns that are warming winters and reducing the levels of snow on lower slopes.