33 Unexpected Facts About North Korea That’ll Surprise You

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1North Korea minerals

North Korea is sitting on $6-10 trillion worth of minerals it can't access due to lack of technology and equipment.

2. According to a legend, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il claimed to have completed a 72-par course in 34 strokes, managing a world record five holes-in-one, making him the best golfer in the history of the world. It was also apparently the first time he had ever golfed.

3. In 2016, a North Korean teenager named Jong Yol-ri was chosen to go to the International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong. He used this event to escape North Korea and start a new life in South Korea.

4. North Korea ordered 1,000 Volvos from Sweden in 1974 and has yet to pay it off, resulting in a debt of 2.2 billion kronor ($322 million).

5. North Korea enlists around 2000 women as part of a 'Pleasure Squad'. These are attractive women who provide entertainment and sexual services for top officials. One defector says Kim Jong-il was "sentimental when drunk, and even shed tears."

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6North Korean show

In 2004-2005, North Korea had a show called "Let's trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle" that was a part of a North Korean government propaganda campaign promulgating grooming and dress standards.

7. In North Korea, since every political candidate is chosen by the ruling party, there is only one name on a ballot. A voter may cross off the candidate's name to vote against him but must do so with a red pen next to the ballot box in sight of electoral officials.

8. North Korea is the only country to have been caught cheating twice at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

9. In 2011, a drunk North Korean man passed out on a wooden board to find himself in South Korea the next day as a flood washed him and the board to an island controlled by South Korea.

10. In 2012, a 14-year old North Korean girl named Han Hyon-Gyong drowned while trying to save portraits of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, and the government renamed her school after her.

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11Kim Jong-Nam

Kim Jong-Il's eldest son, Kim Jong-Nam, was widely considered to be the heir apparent to the title of Supreme Leader of North Korea until he attempted to enter Japan with a fake passport so that he could go to Disneyland.

12. Kim Jong-Il's personal sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto escaped from North Korea in 2001 by telling the supreme leader he wanted to buy a sea urchin to cook for him. He subsequently wrote a memoir about his experiences with Kim Jong-Il.

13. In 2013, North Korea executed 80 people for secretly watching the ABC drama “Desperate Housewives” using mp3 players, hard drives, and DVDs.

14. North Korea captured a U.S. ship, the U.S.S. Pueblo, in 1968. North Korea maintains the ship as a tourist attraction and propaganda symbol to this day.

15. The average North Korean teenager is 8 inches shorter than the average South Korean of the same age, due entirely to malnourishment and privation.

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16Kim Gwang Suk

When a North Korean gymnast named Kim Gwang Suk competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics ; her age was given as 17, but she was missing her front teeth and may have been as young as 10. Aside from an Olympic torch relay, her subsequent life and whereabouts are unknown.

17. The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea is 330 meters (1,080 feet) tall and was intended to be world's tallest hotel but these days it is the tallest unoccupied building in the world.

18. In 1953, a North Korean pilot named No Kum-Sok defected in his MiG-15, allowing the Americans first look at the fighter. As part of Operation Moolah, he was given $100,000 and he later became a US citizen and aeronautical engineer.

19. North Koreans must abide by one of 28 approved haircuts. Unmarried women must have short hair, but married women have many more options, and the hair of young men should be less than 2 inches long, older men can go as long as 2¾.

20. There is a North Korean village just across the border with South Korea nicknamed "Propaganda Village". It is apparently uninhabited and for many years it had speakers that broadcast propaganda across the border 24/7.


Kim-Jong-Il's favorite drink was Hennessy, and he spent around $1 million a year on it.

22. North Korea runs a multi-billion dollar crime syndicate called Bureau 39 that commits illegal activities throughout the world. It has a slush fund of up to $5 Billion and is involved in Meth and Heroin distribution. Until 2004 North Korea even had an official bank in Vienna, which they used for money-laundering, trade with radioactive substances and was linked to “Bureau 39.”

23. The majority of North Korean clothes are made from Vinylon, a synthetic fiber made of coal and rocks. It is the only country in the world to do so.

24. North Korea has its own version of the Ten Commandments called The Ten Principles for the Establishment of a Monolithic Ideological System which consists of total and complete devotion to Kim Il-Sung.

25. Some trucks in North Korea are powered by burning charcoal because the price of oil is too high for most citizens.


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