North Korean Bodyguard Reveals the Training He Went Through to Protect Kim Jong Il (Plus, the Crazy Security Detail Kim Jong Un Uses Today)

The security of North Korean dictators is a force to be reckoned with. Intense training, brainwashing, and loyalty went into shaping both Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un’s dedicated security teams. But here’s what one bodyguard had to say about everything he went through to work for Kim Jong Il. Plus, check out Kim Jong Un’s unbelievable security team on page 7.

Bodyguards had to perform dangerous tasks, such as head-butting tiles and smashing granite against their chests

Military in North Korea

These tests are brutal. | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The tests that determine whether or not someone is fit to be a bodyguard for North Korea’s elite are grueling. Lee Young-guk, a former bodyguard for Kim Jong Il who eventually defected to South Korea, said the training to become a member of Kim Jong Il’s security was unimaginable. He told CNN he had to smash tiles with his head and break granite on his chest with a mallet. He also had to break a light bulb using one finger.

Next: Here’s why the bodyguards went through such intense training — and it wasn’t for strength. 

The intense training was meant to ‘build up loyalty’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il meets with Korean People's Army personel

Kim Jong Il lived in fear. | AFP/Getty Images

The type of training Lee underwent wouldn’t get him too far in a war. He said it was to build loyalty rather than learn to fight the enemy. “A handgun won’t win a war and taekwondo serves nothing but the spirit, but it creates loyalty,” he told CNN. Kim wanted guards who would protect him and be loyal to him. He didn’t want anyone turning on him. Lee later said he felt like Kim constantly lived in fear.

Next: Bodyguards were brainwashed to believe Kim was this. 

Bodyguards were brainwashed to believe Kim was a god

The North Korean people are brainwashed from birth. | Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images

Lee was brainwashed to believe that Kim was the best of the best. Kim was a god to his security and to all the people of North Korea. Lee also said in his interview that Kim’s security was brainwashed to think their only reason for birth was to protect their “Dear Leader.” Residents of North Korea are also brainwashed to love and respect their leader. One defector told The Guardian that citizens can never know what life outside of North Korea is like. And it starts from the time they’re able to talk.

Next: Here’s the real reason Lee said Kim used such aggressive tactics. 

Lee said Kim lived in fear and was extremely two-faced

Kim Jong-Il was incredibly cruel. | Pool/Getty Images

Lee said that Kim’s reason for having two extremely different attitudes stemmed from him living in fear. Some days, Kim would give out gold. Other days, he would sentence people to death for doing something as simple as taking the same elevator as him. “…Even when he was happy, he could be rude and chop off their heads,” Lee told CNN. But it wasn’t until Lee finally escaped that he realized how terrible Kim actually was.

Next: Lee realized the extent of Kim’s dictatorship soon after he left North Korea. 

Lee did not understand the dictatorship until after he escaped

Tourists watching with binoculars to North Korean village Propaganda village or Peace village at Korean Demilitarized Zone

He couldn’t believe how horrible North Korea was until after he escaped. | Loeskieboom/iStock/Getty Images

Lee made his first escape plan in 1994, but he got caught. He was then sent to Yodok political camp, which is one of North Korea’s most brutal camps. One defector recalled what life was like in the prison, saying he was beaten and forced to live without teeth for four years. Lee was eventually able to escape the camp and finally head for South Korea. But he told CNN he didn’t realize how bad Kim was until after he left. He’d been so brainwashed that it took moving to a new country to see the destruction Kim had caused.

Next: This is the worst of the three Kim leaders, according to Lee. 

Lee says Kim Jong Un is the worst leader of them all

Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol-Ju

Kim Jong-Un could be the most dangerous North Korean leader yet. | AFP/Getty Images

But Lee says Kim Jong Un is even worse than his father. And over the past three generations, the leaders have only gotten more dangerous. He told CNN that Kim Jong Un’s horrific murder of his own uncle makes him an even worse leader than Kim Jong Il. But Kim Jong Il supposedly killed his own nephew, too. Lee said North Korea’s loyalty to Kim Jong Un is fake and only based on fear.

Next: You won’t believe how intense Kim Jong Un’s security detail is. 

Kim Jong Un’s security detail is so extreme that they must run alongside his car

Kim Jong Un’s bodyguards. | Daily Mail via YouTube

Kim Jong Un might take his security detail even more seriously than his father did. In a recent meeting with the South Korean president, Kim’s bodyguards can actually be seen running alongside his car. It’s a testament to their loyalty and impeccable shape. But it also shows that Kim is incredibly fearful and how far behind North Korea is with technology. It appears Kim’s limo was not even bulletproof.

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