April 23, 2013 11:48
Kim Jong-chol, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is the unofficial head of a brat pack known as "Ponghwajo" or torch group, Japanese broadcaster TBS reported on Thursday.
The group consists of the children of regime bigwigs who are distinguished in the impoverished state by their conspicuous consumption and fundraising from illicit business.
Citing an unnamed source, TBS said the group provides financial support to the North Korean leader from overseas by running various businesses, legal or illegal. They include drug-dealing and counterfeiting.
Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Jong-un's half brother, has been living in exile overseas since falling out of favor, but little is known about Jong-chol, who was also passed over for the leadership.
TBS said the regime's habit of appointing members of the Kim family to important positions demonstrates the instability of the regime.
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