NORTH KOREA’S leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il used illegally obtained genuine Brazilian passports to apply for visas to visit Western countries in the 1990s.
In an exclusive report, Reuters reported that according to five Western European security sources the passports were issued for the Kims with the names Josef Pwag and Ijong Tchoi, and were potentially used to travel to Brazil, Japan and Hong Kong.
“They used these Brazilian passports, which clearly show the photographs of Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il, to attempt to obtain visas from foreign embassies,” one senior Western security source said on condition of anonymity.
“This shows the desire for travel and points to the ruling family’s attempts to build a possible escape route,” they said.
While North Korea’s ruling family is known to have used travel documents obtained under false pretences, there are few specific examples.
The photocopies of the Brazilian passports seen by Reuters have not been published before. The Brazilian foreign ministry said it was investigating the matter. The country has an ethnic Korean population of around 50,000 – the largest in Latin America.
Both 10-year passports carry a stamp saying “Embassy of Brazil in Prague” with a Feb 26, 1996, issue date. The security sources said facial recognition technology confirmed the photographs were those of Kim Jong Un and his father.
Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported in 2011 that Jong Un visited Tokyo as a child using a Brazilian passport in 1991 – before the issue date on the two Brazilian passports.
He is known to have been educated at an international school in Berne, Switzerland, where he pretended to be the son of an embassy chauffeur.
Additional reporting from Reuters.