Meet Kim Jong-un's running guardians; the bodyguards who protect the world's second most volatile man
Kim's bodyguards are subjected to a rigorous background investigation where their families are vetted back to two generations
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's infamous running bodyguards were spotted again escorting his motorcade as Kim arrived in the country for the much-anticipated meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore on Sunday.
Kim's bodyguards made headlines in April when the North's leader visited South Korea, becoming the first leader from North Korea to do so. However, what amused people during Kim's first visit to the nation was his army of runners who seemed to be the result of his paranoia of being assassinated at any time.
His suit-clad security detail, which is code-named Central Party Office #6, has reportedly been tasked to ensure that no one gets near him.
Being on Kim's security detail, however, has one peculiar requirement — they cannot be taller than their ruler Kim, who is 5 feet and 5 inches tall.
A reminder that the bodyguards who run alongside Kim Jong-un's car and act as a human shield are hand picked for their fitness, marksmanship, martial arts skills and even looks. Look out for them over the next few days.— Laura Bicker (@BBCLBicker) June 10, 2018
These mysterious group of men are reportedly selected from the Korean People's Army and, when their ruler is at his home turf, these men form three different lines to surround him in an attempt to keep him thoroughly protected, according to BBC.
The official department associated with these men in dark suits is called the Main Office of Adjustants.
BCC reports that the criteria of selection for these bodyguards include a certain height requirement and that they must not have any visual impairments. The men must also demonstrate particular accomplishments such as marksmanship, firing a gun and martial arts.
Well well, Kim Jong Un’s running bodyguards are here too pic.twitter.com/ZsgvaaSS7W— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) June 10, 2018
The bodyguards are also subjected to a rigorous background investigation where their families are vetted back to two generations.
Reports state that multiple personnel of the Main Office of Adjutants are either linked to the supreme leader's family or from other elite North Korean families.
These men also cannot refuse to join the job after they are selected in the process and they are then subjected to an intensive training programme. They are trained in a similar fashion to the nation's Army's Special Operations Forces, according to reports.
Their training reportedly includes mastery in the use of handguns, evasion techniques and a variety of martial arts. The trainees are reportedly required to undergo physical endurance challenges, behavioral conditioning, and physically rigorous drills.
The men are required to form a ring around him with the protective perimeter having a 360-degree view of both the people near him and the location they are at.
At least three to five bodyguards walk or ride ahead of Kim at all times, which also includes the director of the Main Office of Adjustants.
There are between four to six bodyguards alongside him and two to three on his right and left side. Reports state that there are an additional four to five bodyguards who stay behind him.
These guards are also some of the only citizens in North Korea who are permitted to carry loaded firearms next to their nation's leader. The firearms they carry are generally semi-automatic handgun and a back-up weapon, according to reports.
The men also have whatever liquor, foods, and cigarettes Kim requires at any time when he is out and they also inspect any food or drink before it is served to their leader.
The guards reportedly use traditional methods for their primary communication, they wear specific badges and pins on their clothing to establish their identification during an event and also use multiple code phrases and passwords to communicate.
Seeing the extravagance of Kim Jong-un's security unit, it may come across as a surprise to many that the leader has fewer bodyguards in number in contrast to his father, Kim Jong-il.