North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was a member of a 15-member Korean students' club during his time at a Swiss boarding school, TV Chosun reported Thursday. Kim attended boarding school in Bern, Switzerland from 1993 until 2000.
According to agencies that monitor North Korea, 12 South Korean and three North Korean students, including Kim, met at Gstaad, a luxury resort in Switzerland, in February of 1998.
The students from boarding schools in Aiglon, Bern, Cesis, Lugano and Rosey formed a social club. The other two North Korean students were Kim's bodyguard Mun Kwang-chol and one Ri Ryong, whose identity remains unclear.
The students named their social club after the resort. Kim used his alias, Pak Chol, did not interact much with the other members and usually sat in the far corner, according to the South Korean students.
According to the South Korean students, Kim spoke English and German but apparently no French. He liked basketball and skiing and enjoyed playing poker and drinking vodka.
They recalled that Kim at times looked for escort girls to sit next to him while he was enjoying a drink.
One South Korean student later told intelligence officials here that Kim inquired about admission to a school in Rosey before he went to Bern but decided not to attend the school because there were too many South Korean students. Another recalled that Kim went to a ski resort but chose not to ski and just enjoyed the scenery and played poker instead.
South Korean intelligence officials interviewed the South Korean students to assess Kim's personality, TV Chosun said.
According to a report based on those interviews, Kim was "aggressive and active," but "has a hard time controlling his impulses." He was also presumed to experience stress and anxiety due to the potential instability facing his father's regime due to the dire economic situation in his country.
He ended up feeling a "growing sense of crisis" from the pressures of the dynastic succession and the North's increasing isolation and economic misery. This played a part in his execution of his uncle and former eminence grise Jang Song-taek, the report said.