The world often sees North Korea in action – missile testing and the undying controversy about the dictator leader Kim Jong-un. Aside from the bombarding issues about the country, do you really know what is happening inside North Korea? This is your chance to find out about the country's dark and deep secrets.
For the uninitiated, North Korea is the sister country of South Korea. However, these two Korean countries are far different from each other. While South Korea is under a democratic government, North Korea is under a dictatorship and one-party state government. Since 1948, North Korea is under the leadership of the Kim Dynasty with Kim Il-sung as its first supreme leader.
Kim Il-sung later passed the supreme leadership to his son Kim Jong-il in 1994 after his death. It was in 2011 that Kim Jong-il passed away and his son Kim Jong-un inherited the supreme leadership. Since 2011, Kim Jong-un has been the dictator of North Korea, a man who seems to have a deep interest in missile testing.
You might already have a hint about North Korea because of the controversies and issues that news channels all over the globe are reporting and exploiting. Perhaps you also garnered some insight about the country when the movie "The Interview" was released. Do you remember this movie? It was a story depicting North Korea, starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Randall Park.
Although this is a comedy film, "The Interview" still caused a massive stir. Yes, the movie is based partly on truth, which means that some of North Korea's deepest and darkest secrets are partly exposed, but still, it is not enough.
Do you want to learn about the dark secrets about Kim Jong-un's North Korea? Continue reading below to find out.
23 Hair Just Like Kim Jong-un's
Let us start the list with something light, yet weird and ridiculous – the official hairstyles! Did you know that in North Korea, people are following a certain hair trend? Freedom is not rampant in North Korea and freedom in choosing a haircut and hairstyle is not exempted.
North Koreans are only allowed to follow 28, and only 28, approved hairstyles. Although there are 28 approved hairstyles, men in North Korea are always encouraged to follow their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's hairstyle. All men should always consider imitating the undercut crop of Kim Jong-un.
Women are not exempted. Although they are not advised to imitate Kim Jong-un's haircut, they are very much encouraged to at least follow the famous bob of the First Lady Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un's wife.
22 There Is A Phone Limit
At this point, you can say that the rumors are partly true in terms of officially using mobile phones. Out of more than 26 million population of North Korea, there are only approximately three million North Koreans with the privilege to use mobile phones. Reports indicate that only the "elite people" of North Korea have access to mobile phones.
People with mobile phones are not that lucky, too. In fact, they should only sign up to the official service of North Korea. To make things even more difficult, all calls and texts are strictly monitored. Incoming and outgoing international calls are also barred.
Not all North Koreans are in favor of this restriction. Sometimes, people use smuggled China-made handsets and SIM cards just to make international calls.
21 Press And Broadcasting Freedom? Not Allowed!
If haircut and mobile phones already have strict limitations and restriction, how about their press freedom? There are only two words that can describe its press and broadcasting freedom – "strict" and "controlled".
To make everything clear, freedom of speech and press should not be contained. However, the supreme leader Kim Jong-un and his ancestors strictly prohibit this right, which is a clear human rights violation, unless it is in favor of Kim Jong-un, the government, and the country.
This strict and controlled press and broadcasting freedom is not just limited to the media, but also in every North Korean home. People are not allowed to tune into international broadcasts. Even if they want to, their TVs are supplied and pre-programmed by the government.
20 Intranet, Not Internet
Goodbye emails, web search, and most importantly, goodbye Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! If you are a millennial or a person clung to technology and internet, you should never consider residing in North Korea. Internet access is not entirely available to all people of the unchangeable sovereign country of North Korea.
There are myths that internet access is strictly prohibited, punishable by imprisonment or even death. This is partly true! Just like mobile phones, only the elite people can access the internet because computers are only available to them.
Although these elite people already have access to the internet, they are closely monitored. North Korea's internet is not entirely "the internet". Instead, their internet is like a company's intranet with millions of banned international sites. One can only access 5,500 sites that are government-controlled.
19 Firearms Dealing
The world knows how North Korea's Supreme Leader and Dictator Kim Jong-un loves missiles and missile testing. Throughout his reign, nuclear and ballistic missiles were tested countless times, which eventually enraged most countries including Japan who declared North Korea as a threat to their national security.
Missile testing is already quite enough to think that maybe North Korea will soon declare a world war. However, Kim Jong-un is not yet contented. In fact, the United Nations accused the country of trading illegal weapons and dangerous nuclear technology to Africa and the Middle East where siege and battles are rampant.
In 2012, the UN already confiscated a North Korean shipment containing graphite cylinders, a recipe to make ballistic missiles. This shipment was supposed to be headed to Syria, which was and still is at the brink of war.
18 Electricity Deficiency
North Koreans, aside from being deprived of TVs, mobile phones, and internet access, are also deprived in receiving the proper amount of electricity they need. Given that only the elite people have the privilege to obtain mobile phones and computers, they are also the only people who can actually have a limited access to electricity.
However, the average elite North Korean can only enjoy an hour or two of electricity daily. But still, that is not the worst part. In fact, almost all houses outside Pyongyang, North Korea's capital city, have no access to electricity.
Space satellites orbiting the planet show images of how darkness covers the entire country. Unlike South Korea and China, North Korea has access to very little electricity.
17 Insurance? It's Fraudulent!
If Japan is called "Land of the Rising Sun", you can say that North Korea can be called the land of the rising international crimes. Imports, exports, and essentially the international trade became too difficult to North Korea. The reason behind these difficulties is either North Korea is banned from the international trade or they are reluctant in making a bridge towards the international company.
Because they can't make money in the international trade, the country's economy will fall. The government needed to bring in money to North Korea, so they thought big and targeted international Western insurance policies. In 2009, North Korea's insurance fraud was discovered following the large insurance companies' lawsuits against the country. To sum it all up, North Korea conned them out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
16 Road Problems
While North Korea's military forces and missile testing are thriving and developing, its roads remain to be unpaved. Third world countries may have the same problem with their roads, but at least, most of their major and minor roads are paved and well-urbanized.
Reports declared that only 3 percent of North Korea's road networks are paved – no more, no less. These paved roads can only be seen in the capital city Pyongyang. However, in other areas in North Korea , especially the rural ones, there is a great significant shortage in decent and proper roads.
Almost every road in the country is made up of dust and dirt, making it impossible for the people to achieve a decent, convenient, and comfortable journey in their own country.
15 What Kind Of Fertilizer Is Kim Jong-un Using?
Fertilizers are needed to build a rich soil for plants and produce to thrive. Artificial fertilizers are no better than organic fertilizers, such as animal waste and biodegradable materials. Unfortunately, the Supreme Leader and Dictator Kim Jong-un and his government took organic fertilizers to the next level by using human waste.
Why did they reach this solution? Although North Korea's geography is mountainous making lands not fit for farming, lots of North Koreans are farmers. To make farming possible, their lands need fertilizers. North Korea relied on foreign resources from the USSR and South Korea for their fertilizers.
However, South Korea stopped exporting fertilizers in 2008, making it hard for North Korea to make their lands rich. They came up with the solution they have today. Since it's North Korea, illegal shops are almost impossible to get rid of and they thrive in providing human waste fertilizers.
14 Three-Caste System Approach
Do you have any idea about the caste system? In history, this is the social stratification used by ancient India and other South East countries based on their Hindu beliefs in classifying the people based on their status in the hierarchy.
North Korea today is using the caste system, but with a twist. It was in 1957 when Kim Il-sung changed the social system to a three-caste system that is based on the person's family history. People with history of loyalties are placed on the highest rank – "core". These are the elite that are now connected to the government.
Next in line is the "wavering" or the middle class. Lastly, there are people classified as "hostiles", which are the people with crime in their family history. However, the actions that the North Korean leaders considered as crimes are practicing Christianity and land ownership. The hostiles are the people being shunned and experience extreme difficulties in their own country.
13 Choosing Jobs? No Freedom!
Since there is a three-caste system, everything is planned by the government and that includes every North Korean's role and jobs. The moment a North Korean citizen is born, the government already decides what that baby's future role in the society is and its future job.
Right after a North Korean left high school, he will be assigned to the job that the government prepared for him. Most "core" members are the elites and therefore assigned to be a politician or to a high-paying job. The "wavering" and the "hostiles" are the ones who end up being laborers and farmers. The worst part is that they are paid very low. In order to have a new job or earn more money, one must bribe an official.
12 Pyongyang is Only for the Elite
As mentioned above, Pyongyang is the "thriving" capital of North Korea. This is where the iconic skyscraper is perched. Pyongyang is also the home of the Rungrado Stadium, the largest stadium in the world that can hold at least 150,000 people. Most importantly, the capital city is the home of the Mansudae Apartments Complex and only the elite can live here. This is the only place in North Korea that actually has 24-hour electricity.
More than just the Mansudae Apartments Complex, only the elite are allowed to find refuge in the nation's capital Pyongyang. It is estimated that only 10 percent of people in North Korea, mostly the elites, the loyalists, and the allies of the North Korean dictatorship, are allowed to live in the capital city, while the rest of the population are barred to enter the city.
11 Fleeing is a Crime
Most people in North Korea do not know that what they have in their country is a complete horror because they are barred to catch a glimpse of the outside world and the international community. However, there are people who are aware that they have no freedom in almost every aspect of life.
Given that there are millions of people facing life and death situations in North Korea, they want to flee and start over. There are two bordering countries – China and South Korea – that can give these North Koreans some refuge. However, fleeing is not easy.
China has this crazy policy to send the refugees back to North Korea where they either face death and execution or lifetime imprisonment. People fleeing their countries are mercilessly killed and tortured with just one reason: they need freedom and only freedom.
Luckily, South Korea opens their arms and hearts to the people fleeing North Korea. They accept every refugee and will immediately provide citizenship, job training, and of course, counseling because what they've been through is so traumatizing.
10 Secret Fund
There are reports stating that North Korea's economy is falling apart and their international trade is well-compromised. The state fund is also not enough to sustain the whole North Korean community. However, North Korea has a secret business that provides additional funds, not to the country, but straight to the Dictator Kim Jong-un's pocket.
According to the news published by credible news websites, a North Korean defector revealed the monstrosity of their leader when it comes to money. As per the defector, North Korea has a secret office called the "Office 39" where they export almost everything – gold, farming goods, and commodities – in exchange for international currencies. This can be considered as an international trade. However, all of the international currencies that Office 39 earned will be given to the leader.
9 Kim Jong-un's Lavish Lifestyle
The Kim Dynasty is a rich dynasty. That is why Kim Jong-un enjoys a life full of lavishness and luxury. News also claimed that this North Korean dictator and supreme leader uses state fund just to satisfy his luxury needs. With that said, North Korea is always included on the top five most corrupted countries according to the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.
Do you know that he has a $20 million car collection? Aside from that, he also owns 17 palaces and mansions across North Korea. Kim Jong-un is living his dreams with all of his splurges, including his own private jet, yacht, and private island. He also wastes money on ridiculous things such as cheese and booze worth millions of dollars.
8 Citizens Remain Poor
The North Korean Supreme Leader and Dictator may be living a luxurious life, but his country is not thriving in wealth. There is extreme poverty in North Korea because of the dictatorship, the three-caste system, and the ill-paying jobs the government assigned.
While Kim Jong-un and the country's most elite are spending the state fund for their own personal needs, vices, contentment, and satisfaction, the rest of North Korea is suffering in poverty. They struggle just to make ends meet for their needs and their family's needs.
While the Dictator Kim Jong-un has an estimated net worth of $5 billion, an average North Korean worker only earns $1,800 per year. There are children begging on the streets and people forced to work long hours.
7 The Elite Continue To Enjoy High-End Black Market
While most of the North Koreans are suffering in poverty, the elites are thriving. Most of the North Koreans are struggling and working very hard just to sustain and buy their everyday commodities. There are people in North Korean, particularly the ones living in Pyongyang and members of the "core" social status, can't decide on what luxury items they would like to choose.
Because the rest of the country is suffering in poverty, the elites need to be discreet. They have their own black market for luxury goods that offers high-end luxury goods. Every black market sells designer brands of apparels, shoes, and bags. Other high-end black markets also offer imported food. Considered as black market, the Kim Dynasty supports and tolerates this.
6 The Rest of North Koreans Suffer Famine
While the elites together with their beloved Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un indulge in luxury wines and delicious cuisines, not just in North Korea, but from all over the world, the rest of the people experience hunger. Fine dining and different restaurants are everywhere in Pyongyang, while only starvation and famine are present in most parts of the North Korea.
If there is poverty, there is starvation. Unfortunately, there is an extreme poverty in North Korea, making famine a threat to the people in the lower class of living. Reports claimed that millions of North Koreans have died in the 1990s and there are still people dying because of hunger. It is also estimated that 40 percent of children and pregnant women are malnourished.
5 Humanitarian Aid is Manipulated
Given that there is a great famine, starvation, hunger, the UN and other countries give humanitarian aid because that is what humans do when their fellow humans are in need of help.
However, the North Korean dictators and government forgot the real meaning of humanity. In the 1990s, Switzerland's Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders aimed to help the North Korean people. However, the government denied that there is a famine going on in the country and that there are no malnourished children roaming around the streets begging for something to eat. Humanitarian aid was pulled out.
4 Three Generations Of Punishment
Do you want to know what crazy law North Korea dictates? There is a certain law in North Korea called the "three generations of punishment" policy. It is already mentioned above that there is a three-caste system or the social hierarchy based on the family history. Unluckily, people of the same bloodline that committed crime in the past will be cast to the hostiles.
That is not the worst part. In North Korea's law of three generations of punishment, if a person committed a crime today, he will share the punishment to his children and his grandchildren. That is why there are North Koreans born in prisons because of the sins of their fathers and grandfathers.
However, what are the crimes that people commit for them to suffer this kind of punishment? As mentioned above, fleeing is a crime. Also, nobody should dare to speak negative things about the government or they will also be punished.
3 Labor Camps Are A Problem
Do you want to know where these so-called "criminals" are being held up? No, there are no regular prisoners in North Korea. Instead, there are labor camps where they work hard in accordance to what the government declared. As of this writing, there are 16 labor camps with over hundreds of thousands of prisoners.
For the record, the prisoners being held in labor camps are mostly defectors, traitors to the government, and people who want to cross the borders. They are all forced to work hard. No matter how petty their crimes are, they need to abide with the rules that require them to work in brutal conditions.
Sounds familiar? Yes, North Korea's labor camps are often described as the Gulag camps of the Soviet Union in 1900s.
2 Unethical Prisons Around The Country
Labor and brutal working conditions are not the worst case scenarios that a prisoner can go through. If North Korea's prisons or labor camps are already inhumane, there are still things that you need to know. There are prisons within prisons. Prisoners who just want to flee do not just end up in labor camps, they end up in torture prisons within the labor camps where people are being executed or just died because of too much torture.
Camp 14 is considered as the most brutal camp in the whole country. Shin Dong-huyk is one of the few people who escaped death. He mentioned that extreme torture awaits everyone in this camp. There is an underground torture prison where he was hanged with metal shackles, dipped into hot coals, and left to rot in infections. It was even reported that he was released just to watch his mother's and brother's execution.
1 The Pleasure Squad
Did you know that the mighty dictator and the supreme leader has a very deep and dark secret that can enrage the UN and every country in the world including the organizations protecting women in their children? Kim Jong-un has a pleasure squad where he recently spent $3.8 million for lingerie. No, this was not for his wife, but for his Pleasure Squad.
No matter how naughty or unreal this is, Kim Jong-un is clearly violating human rights when he formed this pleasure squad. These women are beautiful and that is not a secret. These poor ladies are victims of Kim Jong-un's and his friends' lust.
It was reported that defector Jang Jin-sung revealed that greatest, deepest secret of Kim Jong-un's Pleasure Squad. As early as the age of 13, there are women who possess beauty and charm that are being taken from their families to be a part of the Pleasure Squad. The UN needs to do something about this because this is harassment and corruption of minors.