A model risked arrest in North Korea after she stole a soldier’s hat and posed for some ‘provocative’ selfies with it.
In addition, Liziane Gutierrez also posed for naked pictures in her suite at a Pyongyang hotel, was made to change clothes after wearing a USA skirt out in public, and disobeyed rules by posing for a photo in front of a monument featuring the country’s past two leaders. The statues are never supposed to be photographed separately.
Gutierrez, who defied a US travel ban to make the trip, said she drunkenly stole the soldier’s hat for a selfie while he was in the toilet during a train ride.
Speaking about playing it fast and loose with a hat, Liziane said:
We were on the train, me and the rest of the group, and we were drinking, and it’s like six hours on the train. So we were drinking, we had a bottle of tequila, we had Jack Daniels, we had beer – everything you can imagine.
I went to the bathroom and then I saw the door was locked, and I saw the hat right outside. And then I got the hat, and I took it to my cabin on the train and I showed it to the people. ‘Hey, look what I found. Look what I found.’ And everyone was like, ‘you’re crazy. You can’t do that.’
And then I just took some pictures, I did the video and then I put it back. He [the soldier] didn’t see it.
She also broke the rules at Mansu Hill Grand Monument in Pyongyang, where there are giant statues of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, the current leader’s father and grandfather respectively.
Visitors are forbidden from taking selfies there and all photos must show both statues in their entirety, but Ms Gutierrez unwittingly defied both decrees.
Liziane said: ‘I was just taking a selfie, I didn’t even realise.’
In the past, North Korea has shown little tolerance for US visitors misbehaving. In 2015, for example, American student Otto Warmbier was arrested and imprisoned after allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. Otto fell into a coma shortly after his sentencing and never regained consciousness, he sadly died within a week of his return to the US in 2017.
Liziane was therefore understandably nervous as North Korean border guards demanded to inspect her photos before she left the country.
I started freaking out because I didn’t realise, until that moment, that all my pictures, everything that I was doing would be seen. I was extremely nervous because I could end up in jail. I was very lucky that they didn’t check the album containing all the pics I took there.
The model was able to circumvent Trump’s travel ban as she was born in Brazil. During her stay, she was told to go back to her hotel to change out of a skirt she was wearing which had an American flag on it. While she was also offered alternative swimwear to the revealing bikini she was wearing at a pool.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.