A North Korean bodyguard faces the wrath of Kim Jong-un after the dictator went out with mysterious white stains on his clothes.
The supreme leader was inspecting a missile launch last week when propaganda pictures captured something amiss.
His jacket appeared to be covered in white marks, sparking fears Kim’s staff will be punished for failing to protect his dignity.
North Korean expert Michael Madden said those responsible face demotions or hard labour – but even execution could not be ruled out.
‘My initial reaction was OMFG,’ he said. ‘Personnel who have irritated the supreme leader are usually punished with demotions, hardship assignments or labour education.
‘It is unlikely that anyone will get shot over something like this – unless the leader is feeling particularly mercurial.
‘But if he got angry about this then a few people will probably get sent to a construction site or a farm for a month or two to think about this minor transgression.’
He added: ‘It is not unheard of to be sent away for execution.
‘There are accounts of the leader’s father, Kim Jong-il, having bodyguards and members of his personal staff sent to prisons and in one case to the firing squad for very minor offenses.
‘One unconfirmed story is that a member of his personal staff sat at his desk and smoked one of his cigarettes. Kim Jong-il discovered this and had the man shot.’
Mr Madden, who runs the North Korea Leadership Watch website, said the culprits might write a letter of apology to minimise their punishment.
But he said it was also possible that Kim lets it slide ‘since he is far less prone to mood swings and problems with emotional regulation than his father’.
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