He’d go on hunger strike: Kim Jong-Un’s defector aunt spills family secrets

The aunt of North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un is living anonymously in the U.S., where she runs a dry-cleaning business after having defected in 1998. Ko Yong-Suk – who lives with her husband Ri Gang and their three children under assumed names – was the sister of Ko Yong-Hui, one of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s wives and mother of Kim Jong-Un. The couple were sent to Switzerland to look after members of the ruling family studying there, including the reclusive state’s current leader. "He wasn’t a troublemaker but he was short-tempered and had a lack of tolerance,“ Ko said of Kim in an interview with the Washington Post.

When his mother tried to tell him off for playing with these things too much and not studying enough, he wouldn’t talk back but he would protest in other ways, like going on a hunger strike

Ko Yong-Hui

Ko said Kim was born in 1984 not in 1982 or 1983 as previously believed - meaning he was just 27 when he took over from his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011. Her own son was born the same year and the two boys would play together. "He and my son were playmates from birth,” she said. “I changed both of their diapers." Kim’s main interest was basketball, she also revealed. "He started playing basketball, and he became obsessed with it,” she said, adding that he even slept with a basketball.

They (the CIA) thought we must know some secrets, but we didn’t know anything. We were just looking after the children and helping them study

Ri Gang