Will Kim Jong-Il gift his countrymen Fucci, Fauxlex, and Garmani?
Every year on the anniversary of his birth, Kim Jong-Il plays North Korean Santa Claus and passes out gifts to every child in North Korea. He also rewards his troops and officials with gifts that are said to be as lavish as Mercedes-Benzes and Rolex watches.
Only this year, on Wednesday, Kim Jong Il's gifts for his 70th birthday might be of a slightly lesser quality. As North Korea suffers from drought and food shortages, Kim Jong-Il may be turning to rip-off luxury goods for his gift bag. The Associated Press reports that for the past three months North Korean officials have been purchasing clothing and textiles, including fake Gucci and Armani suits, in bulk from Beijing's Silk Street market. The AP reports:
Popular among both Chinese and foreigners, the cramped, multistory Silk Street market is filled with hundreds of clothing shops, many selling Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Armani fakes. Some are so well made that only experts can distinguish them from genuine designer goods.
Kim Jong-Il has announced that next year, the centennial of his father's birth, will see North Korea emerging as a world leader. The AP report posits that the reliance on fake goods this year may be a sign the government is stockpiling in preparation for the following year.
| February 15, 2011; 11:46 AM ET
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