FOLLOWING weeks of speculation as to the fate of North Korea's supreme leader amid suggestions he may have died, Kim Jong-un finally made a public appearance...or did he? Rumours now abound that a body double may have been used.


Isn’t that more like a movie plot?

It sounds like something out of a James Bond film certainly, but the dictator is known to have body doubles on staff. A video from 2017 seems to show him standing alongside two lookalikes, all sporting his trademark black, pinstriped, wide-legged suit and cuban heels.


He wouldn’t be the first?

Many a dictator before him have used body doubles, with Saddam Hussein among them. The Iraqi tyrant and his sons, Uday and Qusay, all used impersonators for protection, with Uday's body double the focus of a 2011 Hollywood movie, The Devil's Double, starring Dominic Cooper.



Adolf Hitler is thought to have used up to two dozen dopplegangers.


It had been rumoured Jong-un died?

With his last public appearance on April 11, his absence from the April 15 birth anniversary celebrations of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder and his late grandfather - a major holiday that he would have been expected to mark - sparked rumours that he may have died. Initial reports from South Korea suggested he was in a vegetative state after suffering a heart attack. Another claim was that he had been injured during a missile test, while US Senator Lindsey Graham said late last month that he would personally be "shocked" if Jong-un was not dead or at least incapacitated.


But then…?

After 20 days of mystery, the 36-year-old was photographed cutting a ribbon at the completion of a fertiliser plant. The Korean Central News Agency said he appeared alongside his sister, Kim Yo Jong - who had been tipped as his successor - and in his speech, spoke of the "splendid display of our nation's great economic potential”.



The internet is now in overdrive as to whether or not it was actually him. A Twitter post by human rights activist Jennifer Zeng went viral, highlighting differences in teeth, earlobes and eyes between an older image of the dictator and pictures taken at the fertiliser plant.


In another twist?

Satellite images showed his personal train stationed near his holiday villa in the seaside resort of Wonsan, with suggestions he may have hunkered down there to avoid catching the coronavirus. North Korea claims to have no domestic infections, but many analysts are skeptical over the veracity of this.

Reports then emerged Jong-un - who took power in late 2011 - deliberately faked his own death to expose traitors in his inner-circle who had hopes of taking power, before re-emerging to purge those he believed to be have colluded to take over.



It is challenging at the best of times to learn what is going on inside the secretive famine-stricken country and now, amid increased restrictions due to the coronavirus, it is harder than ever.