North in Ri Scandal Damage Control

The North Korean authorities have launched a secret internal investigation to try and track down those persons responsible for leaking information on an alleged scandal involving Kim Jong Eun’s wife Ri Sol Ju, an inside source has revealed.

The Pyongyang source told Daily NK on the 25th, “I heard from a high cadre that ‘Big cracks are appearing in the wife’s personal life.’ The same cadre also claimed that the ‘criminals who sold discs of the film have been caught and are already dead, but her unsavory past has been exposed by what they said.’”

Testimony that Kim Jong Eun’s wife Ri had participated in “explicit activities” apparently emerged during an investigation into the sexually explicit undertakings of one of Kim’s other former lovers, Hyon Song Wol.

“In the beginning the rumor was just going about between Party cadres, but as time went on ordinary people came to hear it too. Now lots of people are talking about it,” the source noted. “Since it’s a story about the Supreme Leader’s wife it can’t be mentioned in public, but this doesn’t seem to have stopped it spreading pretty far.”

“It came out when they were conducting their interrogations,” the source went on. “The investigators then hinted at it in conversations with ordinary people, and that is how it started spreading by word of mouth.”

According to the source, the worried North Korean authorities are now going to great lengths to try and quell the rapidly spreading rumor, regardless of its veracity.

“Ranking cadres are being summoned in increasing numbers by the Upper and ordered to tightly control every societal unit. In the market, if a few people gather round and start talking amongst themselves, agents from the Ministry of Public Security tell them to break it up. They’re really sensitive to it,” the source explained.

As in many countries, an interview must be passed before one can become an artist in North Korea. If a candidate does not have powerful family or money, the only hope is to indulge the whims of the interviewer. Therefore, even if the rumor of Ri’s participation in sexually explicit behavior were to be proven, it would not be a huge surprise.

The source pointed out, “In Chosun you must be in favor with those in high positions if you want to be successful. If you have no money or connections then you’ll owe the person who helps you rise. In the case of Ri Sol Ju, she could not have expected that she would attain such high status when she first started out. She would have had no choice but to ingratiate herself with the cadres.”

Equally, while many rumors that spread in North Korea sound outlandish at first listen, and some are, others turn out to be true. As such, people do not rule anything out, and rumors gain great currency.

One high-ranking defector recalled, “In the past it was rumored that Kim Jong Il was maintaining this ‘Kippumjo’ [“Pleasure Squad”]. Later on, did his chef [Japanese sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto] not confirm it? While anything related to the ‘Highest Dignity’ [meaning the leader] is considered top secret, there have been many cases of facts accidentally emerging.”