Even though the United Nations prohibits the sales of luxury goods and vehicles to North Korea, leader Kim Jong Un regularly drives around in expensive, high-end cars, seemingly snubbing his nose at those who wish to control his actions.
“Chairman Kim’s expanding inventory of European and U.S.-manufactured or customized luxury and up-armoured limousines represents the most obvious series of flagrant sanctions violations to date,” noted Hugh Griffiths, who for several years has an organized a U.N. panel of experts to monitor North Korea’s sanction-circumventing actions. “This is because these vehicles are quite literally paraded at foreign summits, diplomatic meetings and other high-profile events in Singapore, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”
The North Korean leader owns many luxury products, including a Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to a new report from the U.N. He covertly receives them through diverted shipping containers.
This is problematic because it shows that North Korea can obtain illegal goods despite Security Council sanctions resolutions that require all cargo imported into the country be inspected.
Griffiths pointed out to Fox News that this could enable the country to “have few problems importing smaller but critical dual-use items for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
In October 2018, Kim Jong Un drove to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a black Rolls-Royce, valued at nearly US$500,000. It’s unclear how he acquired it. In the past, he’s been spotted in a Mercedes Maybach S600 Pullman Guard limousine, valued at approximately US$1.5 million. During an inter-Korean summit a month prior, several Lexus LX570 all-wheel-drive vehicles were driven by the North Korean delegation.
No one knows for sure how many vehicles Kim Jong Un has. One expert believes there are between 100 and 300 vehicles stored in special garages. Many of them are thought to have belonged to his father and grandfather. His grandfather, Kim ll Sung, loved Lincolns and Cadillacs, while his father, Kim Jong Il, was a big fan of Mercedes.
At the very least, Kim Jong Un has the following: 1) a 2010-11 Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman Guard, 2) a Maybach 62 S, 3) a Rolls-Royce Ghost, 4) a Rolls-Royce Phantom, 5) a Lexus LX570, 6) a Mercedes G wagon, and 7) a Mercedes Maybach S600 Guard.
These vehicles are also heavily modified, making them “bullet-proof, fire-proof, gas-proof and explosive proof.” They’ve also been adapted to improve performance.
North Korean embassies also have luxury vehicles. One in Malaysia, for example, has a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Jaguar XJ, Audi A6, Lexus LS, and BMW X5.
Meanwhile, not many North Koreans own vehicles because they’re cost prohibitive. Typically, they earn less than $1,300 a year, and a North Korean car costs $10,000.
The U.N. Security Council is looking into how Kim Jong Un procured his high-end vehicles because whoever is providing them is breaking the law.