The dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il, reportedly died on Saturday at the age of 69.
The brutal dictator “kept North Korea at the edge of starvation and collapse, banished to gulags citizens deemed disloyal and turned the country into a nuclear weapons state,” according to The New York Times
In response to Kim’s reported death, the White House issued a statement
We are closely monitoring reports that Kim Jong Il is dead. The President has been notified, and we are in close touch with our allies in South Korea and Japan. We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies.
South Korea, meanwhile, is on high alert
in the wake of Kim’s death, while Asian stock markets are reportedly down
The countless reports about Kim’s death have carried bizarre stories about the leader the media has deemed “enigmatic.” Here are five of the strangest tales:
He planned the kidnapping of a director to build a domestic film industry.
Kim was deeply interested in film, so much so that he reportedly had a library of 20,000 foreign films. James Bond films, of which he owned the complete series, were his favorite. According to the Times
, Jong-Il “orchestrated the kidnapping of an actress and a director, both of them South Koreans, in an effort to build a domestic movie industry.”
He had a banquet that lasted four days.
A former personal cook for Kim said: “His banquets often started at midnight and lasted until morning. The longest lasted for four days,” according to a report in the Daily Mail
He eats only rice in which the grains are uniform in size and color.
A 2004 Los Angeles Times story
says Kim not only demanded grains of rice be the same size and color, but also “that his rice be cooked over a wood fire using trees cut from Mt. Paektu, a legendary peak on the Chinese border … Female workers inspect each grain of rice to ensure that they meet the leader's standards.”
He is credited with inventing the hamburger.
According to a North Korea state report in 2004, Kim invented the American favorite
. The sandwich was called “double bread with minced meat.” A report in a South Korean English newspaper
this year said that Kim ordered all foreign foods, including the “double bread with minced meat,” be called by their original names.
He’s reportedly an unparalleled golfer.
North Korean state media said Kim once shot 11 holes-in-one on the first round of golf he ever played, according to a Reuters story