South Korea’s intelligence service believes that North Korea’s leader could be suffering from insomnia while abusing alcohol and tobacco.
South Korean lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum, who serves as the executive secretary for the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee, told reporters Wednesday the country’s intelligence service believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “may be experiencing a serious sleep disorder and engaging in excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption,” according to a report from The Korea Herald.
The lawmaker said the National Intelligence Service found North Korean authorities were “hoarding” insomnia medications such as Zolpidem and “significant amounts” of alcohol and cigarettes.
In addition to the sleep issues and apparent substance abuse, the spy service also noted the North Korean leader seems to be suffering from marks on his wrists or arms, which the service assess may be from scratching scars that may be the result of a skin condition related to stress or from an allergic reaction.
The intelligence service also noted that an artificial intelligence-assisted analysis of the leader’s weight puts Kim at 140 kilograms, or about 308 pounds.
Assessments of Kim’s health have long drawn scrutiny and international concern or interest, with any potential change of leadership in the isolated country having implications for South Korean and global security.
News of possible health issues for the North Korean dictator have popped up before, including speculation that his health was suffering after he skipped a series of important events earlier this year.
Aside from Kim’s health, the South Korean spy agency assessed that living conditions for North Koreans have continued to decline this year. Incidences of violent crime have risen sharply, while deaths from hunger rose three times higher than at the same time last year.
Suicides have also risen in the country, up 40% compared to the same time frame last year, and in May cases of “fever” spread throughout the country’s capital of Pyongyang and led to travel restrictions into and out of the city.