With more than 10 million North Koreans facing famine, the country is in serious trouble. Amidst the widespread suffering, however, leader Kim Jong Un has spared himself from the pain and enjoys a life of luxury instead.
The despotic leader seemingly doesn’t miss many meals and doesn’t deprive himself of any other indulgences. Here we’ll take a look at some ways Kim Jong Un enjoys the high life compared to that of the average North Korean who goes hungry every day.
1. A total of 17 palaces
Who needs one palace when you can have 17? Kim’s luxurious residences house his private yachts, jet skis, villas for entertaining guests, and runways for his private planes.
Kim is said to spend most of his time at the frequently renovated Ryongsong Residence. The grounds feature man-made lakes, horse stables, and a private underground train station. Inside furnishings include plush carpets, fancy chandeliers, and a luxury movie theater. More on that next.
Next: He goes to the movies right at home.
2. A 1,000-seat luxury cinema
Kim doesn’t like to just put his feet up in the family room and turn on the TV. Rather, he has a 1,000-seat theater said to cost 100s of $1,000s.
What is he watching? Anything from his impressive collection of 20,000 films on DVD. (Never mind it’s illegal to import movies into the country.) His tastes in American movies range from Godzilla and Rambo to Friday the 13th.
Next: Foods fit for a dictator
3. Rich, imported foods
Kim has expensive taste — and the money to back it up. His favorite imported foods include pork from Denmark, caviar from Iran, melon from China, Kobe beef from Japan, coffee from Brazil, and cheese from Sweden. (He was once said to eat so much cheese, he had to step back from the public eye for a time.) The Supreme Leader also spares no expense with it comes to liquor and sips Bordeaux, Cristal champagne, and Hennessy.
Kim’s love for food is said to run in his family. In addition to sharing his son’s preference for Hennessy, Kim Jong Il also enjoyed off-the-wall cuisine including shark fin soup and dog meat soup.
Next: His wife also joins in.
4. Pricey gifts for his wife
In 2009, Kim married Ri Sol-ju and has spent a pretty penny in state funds on gifts for her. These include a Christian Dior handbag she’s been spotted carrying, which sells for $1,457.
The dictator’s wife has become known for her taste in Western fashion, and she’s also been seen wearing brands like Chanel. Her penchant for luxury items has attracted international criticism, while the rest of the country faces food shortages and starvation, Business Insider reported.
Next: He can give up his land line.
5. A mystery mobile phone
If Kim had Snapchat, what would his story look like? We’d probably see the latest array of nuclear weapons and whatever rich foods the dictator enjoyed for lunch. OK, back to reality: He likely doesn’t have social media accounts, but he is one of the few in North Korea to have a mobile phone with Internet access, reports say.
He and his cronies supposedly have their own cellular network which keeps conversations secure. What type of phone does he have? Some say it looks like an HTC.
Next: He never has to use a public restroom.
6. A personal mobile toilet
Have you ever dreaded using public restrooms? Apparently so does Kim, and he’s found a way around it: When he travels in around in his convoy, there’s always a separate vehicle that serves as his mobile toilet. It would be “unthinkable” for the Supreme Leader to have to use public restrooms, a source told DailyNK.
In fact, one Daily Beast columnist Jeffrey Lewis even went so far as to point out a gold-colored port-a-potty in the background of a photo of Kim. (Could this be the toilet he reportedly travels with?) Lewis suggested the U.S. bomb the toilet when Kim isn’t inside. The act would demonstrate the “incredible accuracy” of precision munitions and be “unquestionably hilarious,” he wrote.
Kim even brought the personal toilet with him to Singapore for his meeting with President Trump, CBS reported.
Next: American ballers lined up to meet him.
7. Visits from American basketball players
Who wasn’t amazed by the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s? Even Kim came to appreciate the magic of Michael Jordan from halfway around the globe, GQ reported. He was able to watch NBA playoff games on VHS tapes featuring Jordan, Scottie Pippin, and Dennis Rodman. The despotic ruler even managed to become friends with Rodman, who has visited him in North Korea six times.
On one such infamous visit, Rodman brought an entire basketball team with him — the Harlem Globetrotters. The 2013 trip included a basketball exhibition game in Pyongyang against North Korean players, which ended in a 110-point tie. (We hate to see what might have happened if the U.S. won the game.)
Next: He parties like a rock star.
8. His own private island
Just when you thought he had it all: Kim has his very own “pleasure island” off the coast of North Korea. The Sun wrote a 2013 article describing the tyrant as plotting “world domination during champagne and cheese-fueled mega yacht parties.” Rodman actually said he spent a week there on Kim’s 400-foot yacht and jet-skis while drinking alcohol and being waited on by servants.
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