Though the rumors claiming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had died or was seriously ill have dwindled across the world, sources in the Hermit Kingdom are claiming they are still circulating throughout the communist nation. In response to the continued whispers, the North Korean government has resorted to threatening severe penalties for any citizen making international calls, particularly coming from areas around the Sino-Korean border.
According to Daily NK, questions about the chairman's health persist, despite his recent public appearance in April. In international news publications, pictures of the event have been analyzed incessantly, with some claiming that a needle mark on his wrist suggested a cardiac procedure, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr. Others claimed that Kim was actually replaced by a body double.
Newer rumors in the country appear to have taken a different bent, however. Though older reports suggested Kim had been suffering from heart problems, new whispers indicate he might have actually had a procedure done on his legs, which many have speculated became injured due to his weight.
This theory gained fuel after Kim used a golf cart to tour a factory during the April appearance, instead of walking.
Other reports have claimed the leader somehow injured himself while attempting a fitness regimen, necessitating his nearly three-week absence.
"There are all sorts of rumors," a source said.
Though the North Korean government is aware of the whispers, insiders have said they aren't really focused on squashing the rumors. Instead, they are concentrating on keeping the speculation in the country.
"Recently, there was someone who was caught making an [international] call in the mountains," the source said. The man, who was arrested for the attempted call, was reportedly a cash broker. He attempted to make the call while in the Sechon Laborers District in Hoeryong.
"Usually people will quickly get rid of the phone battery and swallow the SIM card to escape punishment, but the man didn't have the time to do that," the source added. "The arresting officials didn't accept a bribe, either."
"His entire family is completely terrified that the man will be made an example of," the insider concluded.
In North Korea, international calls are already illegal -- with only a handful of elites able to bypass the law. However, as reported by The New York Times, a growing number of citizens have begun to use cell phones, smuggled from China, to make contact with the outside world.