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Assassination attempts disguised in car accidents in N. Korea

Assassination attempts disguised in car accidents in N. Korea

Posted May. 10, 2013 07:52,   


One of interesting things to watch in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang is traffic policewomen. Anyone will take out a camera to take pictures of a young policewoman in a good shape whose disciplined movements are impressive. These traffic policewomen are called the “faces of Pyongyang.” One characteristic of such traffic policewomen is their bright-color makeup. They are selected among those aged between 18 and 26 years old with high school or higher diploma and a height taller than 165. With increased traffic lights, only about 150 traffic policewomen are working these days. Still, the profession is one of the most favored jobs in the North.

Pyongyang is busy making Rhee Gyong Sim, a 22-year-old traffic policewoman, a heroine. North Korean media propagate that "under unjust circumstances," she set a pattern to follow by risking her life to protect North Korea’s revolutionary leader and safeguard their leader. Though her heroic acts were not specified, the North Korean government gave her a first-class flag medal. But considering the North`s revolutionary leader indicating its leader Kim Jong Un, the policewoman must have saved Kim`s life in a very serious situation.

In North Korea, assassination attempts disguised as traffic accidents are not rare. In September 2006, Jang Song Taek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un, had a serious traffic accident at the intersection in front of a theater of the North Korean People’s Army in the Moranbong region where Rhee is currently working. Jang’s car that was hit by a dollar-earning truck was scrapped after the accident. There was a rumor that the accident was an assassination attempt. On the 2005 severe car accident, which caused Jang to hospitalize for five months, rumor had it that his arch rival and high-ranking official Rhee Je Kang plotted the accident. Weirdly, Rhee was killed by a suspicious car accident at a night in August 2010 and Jang became the No. 2 man in the North.

Another reason for frequent car accidents in the North is that secret parties the late former leader Kim Jong Il used to enjoy. Kim`s former chef Kenji Fujimoto wrote in his book, “Since Kim Jong Il mandated that party participants drive themselves, many of them were killed by car accidents while driving under heavy influence of alcohol.” But as it is highly unlikely that Kim drove under the influence, anyone attempted to kill him must have been really bold. If there had been a real attempt to assassinate Kim, North Korea must be filled with a scary atmosphere these days while reinforcing the guard around Kim.

Editorial Writer Ha Tae-won (triplets@donga.com)