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North Korea flogs illegal drugs and arms to terrorists to raise revolutionary funds, a high-profile defector has claimed.
Kim Kuk-song spent 30 years working for the reclusive regime, under Kim Jong-un and the current dictator's father and grandfather.
He worked his way to the top ranks of North Korea's powerful spy agencies before he was forced to flee for his life to South Korea in 2014.
Kim claims he built an illegal drugs-lab to help raise "revolutionary" funds. He also says he helped arrange weapons sales to the Middle East and Africa.
He told the BBC: "In North Korea, terrorism is a political tool that protects the highest dignity of Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un.
"It was a gift to demonstrate the successor's loyalty to his great leader."
Kim Kuk-song also claims that in May 2009, an order came down the chain of command to form a "terror task force" to kill a former North Korean official who had defected to the South.
But the assassination attempt went wrong. Two North Korean army majors are still serving 10 year prison sentences in Seoul for the plot.
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North Korea's capital Pyongyang always denied it was involved and claimed South Korea had staged the attempt.
The defector also claims that the production of illegal drugs peaked during North Korea's disastrous famine in the 1990s – similar to the shocking state the country is experiencing currently.
He said: "The production of drugs in Kim Jong-il's North Korea peaked during the Arduous March (a phrase used to describe the famine).
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"The production of drugs in Kim Jong-il's North Korea peaked during the Arduous March. At that time, the Operational Department ran out of revolutionary funds for the Supreme Leader.
"After being assigned to the task, I brought three foreigners from abroad into North Korea, built a production base in the training centre of the 715 liaison office of the Workers' Party and produced drugs.
"It was ICE (crystal meth). Then we could cash it to dollars to present to Kim Jong-il."
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Kim Kuk-song claims the money raised from ill-gotten gains went to boost the wealth of North Korea's leader, including building villas, buying cars, designers clothes and other luxuries.
Estimates of the death toll from North Korea's prolonged food shortages in the 1990s range from hundreds of thousands to up to a million people.
Another source of income, according to Mr Kim, came from illegal weapons sales to the rouge state Iran.
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- Kim Jong Un
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