N.Korea Probes Leak of Kim Jong-un's White Steed Stunt

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    October 31, 2019 09:54

    The North Korean regime has launched a widespread investigation of who leaked leader Kim Jong-un's scaling of Mt. Baekdu on a white horse on Oct. 16 in advance, Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday.

    The itinerary was reportedly leaked to the outside world before the portly dictator had even mounted the horse. A source in Ryanggang Province told RFA on Monday that the North Korean State Security Department found clues that the information had been leaked by illegal mobile phone communication.

    North Koreans are living in fear because the investigation is more intense than any previous probe, and they are worried that something terrible could happen to them, the source added.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rides a white horse on Mt. Baekdu, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central Television on Oct. 16.

    But it is unclear what information exactly was leaked. The stunt itself was well publicized in the state media afterwards, with high-quality photos reminiscent of "Game of Thrones" showing Kim riding through the snowy mountains, allegedly contemplating momentous decisions.

    The most common way for North Koreans to communicate with the outside world is to use smuggled Chinese cellphones and catch a Chinese signal near the border.

    Since the investigation was launched, border guards who usually looked the other way when smugglers used illegal mobile phones have tightened controls, and all smuggling from China has stopped, another source in the same province said. Smugglers have gone into hiding, he added.

    North Korea has more reasons than one to fear mobile phones. In April 2004, a cellphone was found on the scene after an explosion at a railway station in Ryongchon, North Pyongan Province apparently intended to kill then-leader Kim Jong-il. The regime then banned the use of cellphones throughout the North.

    The station blew up about 30 minutes before a train carrying Kim Jong-il from a visit to China passed through.

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