What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

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What's Happening In North Korea Right Now – In the heart of North Korea’s government headquarters, DEEP, a group of workers standing at their desks could be mistaken for any official.

But their jobs aren’t the tedious administration of day-to-day government – instead, they deal in drugs, counterfeit notes and smuggled gold to finance lavish lifestyles and manage Kim Jong-un’s growing nuclear arsenal.

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

Kim Jong-un with his sister, Kim Yo-jong, who runs the company in his absenceCredit: AP: Associated Press

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Run by the dictator’s sister Kim Yo-jong – tipped as his successor – Room 39 is a mysterious department whose sole purpose is to raise money by any means possible.

Smuggling gold, fake Viagra and large-scale production of meth and heroin are among the many illegal methods used by the department, which US intelligence experts estimate earns between £400m and £1.6bn a year.

The dictator had disappeared for 20 days in April, following speculation that he was dead or seriously ill after botched heart surgery, and on May 1, after surfing the ribbon cutting at the Fertilizer Factory, he disappeared again.

With the mystery surrounding the North Korean leader’s health, Kim Yo Jong is issuing statements on her own and seems ready to step into her brother’s shoes.

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This week, Kin Jung-un’s close friend Dennis Rodman fueled the health rumors when he told Good Morning Britain: “If you see her sister running the country, something is wrong.”

US officials believe the leader is alive but holed up at his luxury resort in Vansen, one of his 17 palaces, which boasts its own sports stadium, a private airstrip and several luxury villas.

Kim – who is said to be worth £4billion – also has a private island, his own train station under the Pyongyang Palace, a luxury yacht and a fleet of top-of-the-line Mercedes.

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

It has also developed an arsenal of around 30 nuclear weapons and thousands of chemical and biological weapons.

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With 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line, the sovereign’s lavish lifestyle and obsession with nuclear weapons are funded by the activities of the shadowy Room 39 – her sister and her husband Choi Song. Powered by

“Room 39 is an organization for executives to get foreign currency,” a recent defector told ABC News.

Room 39 – officially named Bureau 39 of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party – was established in 1970 by Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, to raise revenue for the imperial treasury.

The department allegedly recruited chemists trained to produce amphetamines and opioids, which are then sold in Japan, China and other parts of Asia.

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In 2003, Australian authorities seized a North Korean shipment of 150 kilos of heroin, worth £20 million, on the Korean ship Pong Su.

North Korea expert Robert Kelly said: “According to our findings, drug trafficking is one of the most important sources of income for the Kim government.”

Along with heroin and meth, the country has been involved in several incidents involving counterfeit Viagra, including the 2004 arrest of a South Korean man in Seoul with 4,000 counterfeit pills.

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

A 2005 report from Japan claimed that North Korea was manufacturing counterfeit Viagra pills at factories in Chongqing for sale in Hong Kong, China and the Middle East.

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North Korea’s fake $100 bills – known as “super bills” – are considered one of the most accurate counterfeits in the world.

The country circulated 82 million pounds ($100 million) in counterfeit notes in 2001, according to a report by Dr. Balbina Huang of American University, with an estimated return of £20 million a year.

The 2013 redesign of the $100 bill, largely as a way to address the problem, was followed by a recent crackdown by US authorities that has seen a drop in North Korean counterfeiting.

Another alleged revenue stream is goods falsely labeled “Made in China” to avoid severe sanctions imposed on North Korean exports.

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Earlier this month, there was a report that products from the country were being sold in France, Italy and South Korea after being sent through Chinese provinces to hide their true origin.

Incredibly, the equipment includes 27 tons of false eyelashes, eyebrows and beards and more than 1,000 accordions – Kim’s favorite musical instrument.

Millions of counterfeit cigarettes, in the form of well-known brands such as Marlboro, also bring in an estimated £130m a year.

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

The route into China also involves the illegal sale of gold, from the country’s rivers and mines, which is passed off as Chinese.

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“We exported everything we could – gold, jewelry, agricultural goods – to get money for everything we sold,” explains the defector, who was assigned to handle Asia’s exports to sell ginseng, precious stones and gold from div. places.

“It’s easy to operate in China. The border is a thousand kilometers and wide open, so it’s easy to smuggle anything.”

The insurance fraud is allegedly carried out on a large scale through the state-run Korea National Insurance Corp., (KNIC), which has offices in Hamburg, Germany and London.

Former manager Kim Kwang Jin, who defected in 2003, said the fraud claims brought in tens of thousands a year.

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He said: “The remaining hard currency should have been used to help people recover from disasters and calamities, but it was not used that way.

In response to the nuclear tests, in 2006 the UN imposed an embargo on North Korea’s lucrative arms trade – which brought in up to £450 million a year.

But officers in Room 39 found a way around the sanctions, using seemingly legitimate businesses as fronts and smuggling weapons through embassies.

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

A 2014 UN report claimed that North Korea had bought weapons from Syria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia and Iran.

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In 2013, a ship with weapons and missile parts was held in Panama. Its owner, Chongchongang Shipping, is believed to be the front company for Room 39.

Three years later, US authorities tracked a Cambodian-flagged ship with a North Korean crew sailing from North Korea to Egypt with weapons worth £20 million.

An aerial view of the country in Vinson, where Kim Jong-un is said to be keeping the minimumCredit: Google

As the world becomes more aware of Kim Jong-un’s illicit trade, the defector said it will become more difficult to conduct illicit trade.

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Instead, he claims Room 39 focuses on cybercrime, and in 2016 hackers came close to stealing £1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve.

They were stopped in their tracks when the authorities realized that the huge repayment request had been mistakenly called “The Fund” – but not before £84m. had been transferred.

That same year, North Korea was suspected of being behind the “Wannacry” ransomware attack that hit millions of computers worldwide and briefly paralyzed Britain’s National Health Service before it was shut down by 22-year-old British hacker Marcus Hitchens. .

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

Cybercriminals from Room 39 have reportedly managed to hack into South Korean military computers and steal a warplane.

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Go Myong-Hyun, of the Seoul-based Asian Institute for Policy Studies, said Room 39 had thousands of hackers on its books.

“It is finding new and fertile ground in cyber. They can operate on a level playing field and compete effectively with any power,” he said.

Private companies that made money in the country were also confiscated by the state to increase the bank balance.

“Room 39 just took everything that made money in North Korea. If it made money, they took it, removed it,” says the defector.

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“I estimate that 30 to 40 percent of the total economy goes to the top management, while people live in poverty.

With the help of Room 39, it seems that Kim Jong Un and his sister will stop at nothing to fill the family coffers.

Dennis Rodman is concerned that “something has gone wrong” with his friend Kim Jong-un, and GMB tells the dictator’s sister that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take his daughter, Kim Joo-e, to Pyongyang on the 8th. February. In a military parade. AFP – Getty Images

What's Happening In North Korea Right Now

South Korea said on Wednesday it was too early to determine whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s newly revealed daughter was being groomed as her father’s successor.

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Speculation about the status of Kim’s daughter, named Kim Ju Ae and 10 years old, has intensified since she recently took center stage at a major military parade in Pyongyang and soon appeared on the same issue of stamps – both events with his very powerful father.

During a parliamentary committee meeting in Seoul, Unification Minister Kwon Young, South Korea’s top official in North Korea, questioned a belief that she is being groomed as the North’s next leader. Kwon cited Kim Jong Un’s relatively young age — Kim turned 39 last month — and North Korea’s male-dominated power hierarchy.

“There are ideas that (his appearance) are meant to speak of a transfer of hereditary power. But Kim Jong-un, given his age and the fact that North Korea has a much more condescending nature than we do, are concerned about this. There are also many questions about whether it is really right for North Korea to have a woman (preparing) to inherit power now,” Kwon told lawmakers.

Kwon said the possibility of the girl appearing again and again in recent months was high

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