While people going missing in countries under the thumb of a tyrannical dictator isn’t unusual, it is when the person who’s gone missing is the tyrant’s wife.
Yes the wife of the most well fed man in North Korea Kim Jong-un hasn’t been seen for seven months, prompting speculation as to just what the hell’s going on in the notoriously isolationist nation.
Mrs Ri Sol-ju (his wife) was last seen accompanying her husband around a new commercial district and health complex in Pyongyang on March 28 but hasn’t been photographed since, The Telegraph reports.
Experts have speculated that there’s a whole myriad of reasons why Mrs Ri has disappeared from public life, including pregnancy, a falling out with her husband or even instability in Pyongyang.
Most worryingly professor Toshimitsu Shigemura, of Tokyo’s Waseda University and an expert on the North Korean leadership has claimed Mrs Ri may have run afoul of another member of the ruling family, Kim Yo-jong.
Kim Yo-jong is Kim Jong-Un’s younger sister and allegedly in charge of North Korea’s propaganda and agitation department, basically she looks after her brother’s cult of personality.
The newest DPRK mystery: Ri Sol-ju, wife of Kim Jong-un, has vanished from the public eye for seven months now https://t.co/Yh2r1HjJcg
— Nathan VanderKlippe (@nvanderklippe) October 31, 2016
There are unsubstantiated rumours that Mrs Ri was close to the dictator’s uncle and mentor, Jang Song-thaek, who was executed in December 2013 after being charged for crimes against the state.
Another reason for Mrs Ri’s disappearance may be that it’s no longer safe for her to appear in public.
Professor Shigemura explained:
There have also been reports of instability in Pyongyang and even of several attempted attacks, including by factions in the North Korean military, against Kim last year… It is possible that Ri has not appeared in public because she is being closely guarded.
Here’s hoping Ri Sol-ju turns up safe and sound soon enough…
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.