It has been suggested that pets should added to the list of “luxury goods” sanctioned and supposedly out of reach of the Kim Jong Il regime.
While “thoroughbred horses” are already a luxury good on the EU’s list of banned products published in the final version of the “Report to the Security Council from the Panel of Experts Established Pursuant to Resolution 1874”, there is nothing about pets.
However, according to one anonymous source well-versed in North Korea matters, Kim Jong Il has been known to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on pets from France and Switzerland.
The money for his purchases apparently comes from the No. 39 Department of the Central Committee of the Party, according to a Daily NK source, and since the funds generated by the No. 39 Department come from illicit activities such as selling weapons, drugs, counterfeit cigarettes and super notes, he believes this pet-related trading must also be put on the list of sanctioned “luxury goods.”
Among dogs, for example, Kim apparently has a preference for the Shitzu and has spent many thousands of dollars purchasing and raising them. Kim Chun Hyung, a Seoul-based veterinarian, confirmed the price of such fine breeds, saying, “The price of pets is very diverse, but when you import a purebred you may need to pay tens of thousands of dollars.”
Jang Jin Sung, a poet who was said to be Kim Jong Il’s favorite poet in North Korea until he defected in 2004, described how much Kim Jong Il loves his pet dogs in an interview on Wednesday, explaining, “I was invited to a no.1 event, in which Kim Jong Il is set to appear, at Kim’s Kalmacheon Villa in Wonsan, Kangwon Province. Security was so fussy that they forced us to disinfect our hands, and then I waited for him nervously.”
“All of sudden a small white puppy appeared, which made me wonder, but then Kim Jong Il entered the hall behind it,” Jang said. “While Kim was having dinner, the puppy walked around without restriction. When it approached Kim, he petted it many times.”
The anonymous source said that Kim is always accompanied by dogs to his onsite inspections, adding that their food and shampoo is all imported, from France in the case of shampoo.
When the animals fall sick, top quality vets from foreign countries are invited to Pyongyang or the animals are taken overseas for treatment, the source said, adding, “The reason why they go by plane is for ease of customs clearance.”
The responsibility for importing pets is the job of overseas-based officials, but due to Kim Jong Il’s picky taste, especially in cats, they find it hard to match the color of fur or eyes that Kim likes, according to the source.