Kim Jong-un’s ‘jogging’ bodyguards are back in Singapore: Who are they?

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce again, on Monday, the world got a glimpse of North Korea’s men in black in Singapore. We first saw them at the Inter-Korean Summit in April, running alongside the vehicle carrying Kim Jong-un.

But they are more than just a sight because when it comes to their leader’s security, North Korea leaves nothing to chance.

These bodyguards, who run alongside Kim’s limousine or those who walk in close proximity to him, are part of Central Party Office #6, which is formally known as the Main Office of Adjutants.

They are selected from Korean People’s Army (KPA) and form the immediate line around Kim.

In North Korea, three different lines of bodyguards surround Kim. What we saw in South Korea and now in Singapore, is a modified version, according to a report in the BBC.

Criteria for joining Main Office of Adjutants

  • The height of each guard should be approximately the same height as their Supreme Leader.
  • They must not have any visual impairments.
  • The candidate must demonstrate certain accomplishments or a high aptitude for skills like marksmanship – firing a gun – and martial arts.
  • Finally, a bodyguard is subjected to a rigorous background investigation in which his or her family, going back two generations, is vetted. Many personnel of the Main Office of Adjutants are related to the Kim family, or to other elite North Korean families.

After selection

  • Once, they are offered the job (let’s keep in mind that they can’t really reject it) of being a bodyguard, they undergo intensive training which is similar to the KPA’s Special Operations Forces.
  • Bodyguard trainees undergo physical endurance challenges, behavioural conditioning and physically rigorous drills.

Their job

  • The men in black form a ring around their leader having a 360-degree view of both the people near him and the location. Along with the director of the Main Office of Adjutants, three to five bodyguards walk, ride ahead or in advance of Kim.
  • Alongside him are between four to six bodyguards, with two to three on his right and left. Bringing up the rear are an additional four to five bodyguards.
  • In a sign of their power in the regime, they are some of the only North Korean citizens permitted to carry loaded firearms next to their country’s leader, usually a semi-automatic handgun and a back-up weapon.
  • Kim Jong-un’s bodyguards, in contrast to his father, are fewer in number and have a less obtrusive presence.
  • The mysterious bunch seem to appear from no-where every time their leader’s limo slows down.

3 planes arrived in Singapore from North Korea

Recent observation and reporting about Mr Kim’s visit to Singapore noted that three planes arrived to the city state from Pyongyang. Guard Command personnel were on board at least two of these planes.

These men and women are involved in a diverse number of support missions for Mr Kim. They will operate and maintain the secure telephone lines that the leader will use, as well as provide him with whatever computers he uses and IT security required.

In addition to that, they have whatever liquor, foods, and cigarettes that Mr Kim will want during his time in Singapore, and will inspect any food or drink before it is served to him.

It also has a medical department where his personal physicians and medical staff work, and at least two of these people are with him in Singapore, the BBC reported.