Kim Jong-un was a trash-talking basketball player and Super Mario fan who wore a pistol on his waist aged 11 as he soaked up Bond movies in his private cinema, household staff reveal.
The ‘little dictator’ was spoiled by his late father with video games, pinball machines and a luxurious cinema for watching Ben Hur, Dracula and James Bond.
Kim Jong-il gave his son a specially modified car at the age of seven and the boy wore a Colt .45 handgun on his waist at the age of 11 while living at the colossal gated compound where he grew up in Pyongyang.
His late father ensured Kim ‘grew up thinking he was special,’ Washington Post journalist Anna Fifield describes in her biography, ‘The Great Successor: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong Un.’
Kim Jong-un pictured wearing Mickey ears with his father Kim Jong-il – the North Korean leader visited Disneyland Pairs as a child while enjoying a luxurious upbringing
Kim Jong-un (left) was basketball obsessed and would wear his Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan jersey while trash talking his peers (his hero, right)
His imperious nature perhaps most impressed upon his father who favoured Kim to his older half-brothers Kim Jong-nam and Kim Jong Chol, Politico revealed.
Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese chef who cooked for the children told the biographer Kim’s ‘sharp eyes,’ ran straight through him with the sentiment, ‘You abhorrent Japanese.’
Twelve-year-old Kim was packed off to boarding school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was known to be an aggressive basketball player, talking trash to his opponents while sporting his Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey.
The youngster – who joined his half-brother in Switzerland – went incognito as ‘Pak Un,’ wearing Nike shoes and tracksuits with his ‘pudding bowl’ haircut.
He basked in the sun on the French Riviera, went skiing in the Alps, dined on Italian cuisine and wore Mickey ears at Disneyland Paris.
The Swiss attorney general was fully briefed on who the boy was, but in their famously close-lipped culture, Carla Del Ponte forbade authorities from monitoring him.
This freedom to absorb Western civilisation, to learn of the French Revolution and Martin Luther King Jr, did little to alter Kim’s dictatorial destiny.
‘Far from persuading him to change his country, these years would have shown him the necessity of perpetuating the system that had turned him, his father and grandfather into deities,’ Fifield writes.
Kim Jong-un beams as he observes a military test in North Korea released by the state’s propaganda machine, the Korean Central News Agency
Kim Jong-un in an image released by North Korea earlier this month shows him meeting young girls
He lived in Liebefeld in the suburbs of Bern with his half-brother Kim Jong Chol where they were looked after by their maternal aunt Ko Yong Suk – who now lives in the US.
‘We lived in a normal home and acted like a normal family. I acted like their mother,’ Kim’s aunt told the biographer: ‘Their friends would come over, and I would make them snacks. It was a very normal childhood with birthday parties and gifts and Swiss kids coming over to play.’
He was visited by his mother who flew into Geneva on a private jet – unlike her son, she was closely monitored while splashing cash in designer stores and at five-star hotels.
She was concerned with her boy’s obsession with basketball, Fifield says Kim even slept with the ball in his bed, and lectured Kim on prioritising his studies.
When he arrived to the £16,000-per-year school in his chauffeur driven car he did not stand out from his peers, many of whom were the sons and daughters of diplomats.
He spoke English, but resented German, with one former classmate recounting how he spat at her and kicked her in the shins for his inability to understand.
He was considered a ‘loner,’ who never spoke to females and avoided alcohol.
And one day, in early 2001, Kim stopped coming to school.
The 17-year-old had been summoned home by his father and the schoolchildren would not see him until a decade later when standing before a majestic balustrade in Pyongyang his father announced he was to become the next leader.
Kim Jong Nam – the exiled half-brother of Kim Jong-un was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017 with a deadly nerve agent
Kim Jong-un’s rule has been characterised by ruthlessness. It is alleged he has ordered numerous executions, including his uncle and his exiled half-brother Kim Jong Nam, who was poisoned with nerve gas at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.
Despite his summits with President Donald Trump in Singapore and Hanoi, his position on nuclear disarmament remains dubious.
Last month he purged staff involved in nuclear negotiations with Washington, with one of his top diplomats Kim Hyok Chol – who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – shot by a firing squad.