Go to contents

Kim Jong Un's Lexus and Ford security vehicles

Posted March. 02, 2024 07:47,   

Updated March. 02, 2024 07:47


Reports have surfaced indicating that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been observed utilizing security vehicles manufactured by American Ford and Japanese Lexus. These vehicles, considered luxury goods, fall under the purview of UN sanctions resolutions against North Korea, which strictly prohibit their export or transfer to the country.

According to recent footage aired by North Korea's Korean Central Television, Chairman Kim was seen riding in a German Mercedes-Benz Maybach vehicle during the groundbreaking ceremony for a local industrial plant in Seongcheon County, South Pyongan Province. Following the chairman were four black vans, presumed to be Ford's Transit vans. It's worth noting that during his visit to Russia in September last year, Chairman Kim utilized Hyundai Motor Company's Staria as a security vehicle. It appears there have been additions or changes to the security vehicle fleet since then. Furthermore, another security vehicle, believed to be the 3rd generation model of Lexus' sports utility vehicle (SUV) LX, a brand under Japanese Toyota, was observed running directly ahead of Chairman Kim's vehicle.

Despite escalating sanctions from the international community against North Korea, Chairman Kim appears to be flouting them by continuing to utilize expensive foreign vehicles. In December last year, North Korea revealed Chairman Kim's new special vehicle, believed to be the 'Maybach GLS 600,' which commands a domestic sales price of at least 260 million won. Additionally, state-run media showcased images of high-ranking party, government, and military officials arriving at conferences in Mercedes-Benz's top-of-the-line sedan, the 'S Class', towards the end of last year.

South Korean authorities have gathered intelligence indicating that North Korea may be smuggling luxury goods through its overseas embassies in Europe. In 2019, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, an American non-profit research organization, asserted that Kim's two Mercedes-Benz Maybachs were "smuggled into Pyongyang through Italy, the Netherlands, China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia to circumvent sanctions in 2018."

고도예 yea@donga.com