North Korea – chronically starved of hard currency – has been secretly selling gold to make up for millions of dollars spent on celebrating the centenary of the birth date of the secretive state's founder, botched missile tests and the inauguration of new leader Kim Jong-un (pictured).
Huge celebrations and military parades were held in April to celebrate the 29-year old Kim Jong-un's grandfather Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday.
The China Post quotes a source as saying since Kim Jong-un took power late last year “North Korean trading companies in China have been cashing the gold in secrecy. For this purpose, North Koreans are compelled to sell gold trinkets to government authorities.”
North Korea is estimated to produce roughly two tonnes of gold a year from mines in the northwest of the country and according to the report has sold roughly the same amount over the past year netting state coffers around $100 million.
There is no indication of how much citizens of the impoverished socialist state were paid to give up their gold.