About the Author
View more articles by Luke Herman
According to reports from Japanese news agency Kyodo News, North Korea has reportedly shut down its illicit fundraising and mysterious gift-purchasing offices. "Office 38" for long operated as the major procurer of luxury goods for Kim Jong Il, operating in conjunction with "Office 39", a bureau in charge of bringing in foreign currency through drugs, weapons and other nefarious means.
For months the two offices had been the cause of a great deal of speculation and mystery for observers, even by North Korean standards. Office 38 had been responsible for acquiring the myriad luxury goods Kim enjoyed throughout his time on the throne, but also provided a steady stream of gifts to dole out to supporters in the upper echelons of the country. Many analysts have attributed the work of this office in understanding how the Kim family successfully held on to power for so long - through literally buying off support from elite families throughout the country.