Kim Jong-un's 'brat pack' brother jets in to London for Eric Clapton concert
Published 22/05/2015 | 10:10
The older brother of Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, has been spotted attending Eric Clapton's concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday evening.
Wearing a leather jacket, T-shirt and sunglasses, Kim Jong-chol was caught on film by a camera crew from Japan's TBS channel entering the venue with an unidentified woman.
South Korean media reported that Kim was staying at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel and was scheduled to board a flight from London to Moscow on Friday. Rooms at the hotel cost up to £2,184 a night.
Kim is known to be a big fan of Clapton and was filmed by a South Korean TV crew attending another of the musician's concerts in Singapore in February 2011. He also saw Clapton perform in Germany in 2006.
Kim, 33, was passed over by his father, Kim Jong-il, as heir to the North Korean regime because he has a weak character, according to South Korean intelligence reports. To compensate, he has taken on the mantle of the unofficial leader of the North's "brat pack" of children of the regime's elite.
Known as "Ponghwajo", which translates as the torch group, Kim and his friends are allegedly involved in earning money for the regime and themselves from drugs, counterfeit currency and deals on the black market.
On previous trips to Macau, Malaysia and Singapore, Kim and his entourage have been spotted gambling and shopping for designer clothes and jewellery.
Ponghwajo's members are largely permitted to do what they want by the North Korean regime as they have no political ambitions and are raising funds for the government.
Kim had not been seen in public since his brother assumed control of North Korea after their father's death in December 2011. Another brother, Kim Jong-nam, has effectively lived in exile in Macau and Singapore since falling out of favour with his father.
Initially considered the likely inheritor of the world's only communist dynasty, Kim Jong-nam was embarrassingly arrested attempting to enter Japan in 2001 on a fake Dominican Republic passport.
Travelling with a woman and child, Kim told authorities that he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland before he was deported.
There were reports that Kim Jong-un was concerned that Kim Jong-nam might attempt to overthrow his fledgling regime, or that he might defect to South Korea, which would have humiliated his brother in Pyongyang.