North Korean despot Kim Jong-un has built himself a fresh layer of defence against would-be assassins in the form of eight new luxury mansions.
A new study claims to provide evidence of eight new luxury homes in the Ch'angkwangsan Compound, a secretive estate in the heart of capital Pyongyang.
Research from North Korea Leadership Watch have also identified a new guard building and several plots of land that could be used for future mansions, should the dictator feel he needs another security buffer.
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Michael Madden, an expert on the elite members of North Korea, said that the series of mansions makes a "decapitation strike" much harder.
He said: "This would be an attack from outside the country targeting the North Korean leadership, along with command and control over its military assets.
"The most significant activity occurred about ten years ago when South Korean forces simulated such an attack – and it sent Pyongyang into a tizzy.
"This is another round in a decades-long cat-and-mouse game in which the leader of North Korea eludes current satellite views of his whereabouts.
"Sometimes it involves early morning travel, underground facilities or decoy motorcades. If you think he is in one house, well guess again, he might be in another."
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The guessing game and not knowing where to strike might confuse potential attackers, assassins or missile strikes, but Madden said there is more to the new homes than security alone.
Madden added: "Kim Jong-un has about 13 residential compounds located throughout the country. Each of these compounds has residences for him and his family, and entertainment and dining facilities.
"And then there are a series of guest houses which are inhabited by other family members and close aides. When we are looking at images like this and see luxury houses, it is a pretty restricted population of people who will live in them."
Whether the new homes are for family, close friends or important ruling party members is unknown, but there is a stark comparison between the luxury homes and the desperate poverty being experienced by many North Koreans.
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