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North Korean mother in hot water for failing to save Kim family portrait from house fire

A North Korean mother who saved her children from a house fire but failed to recover portraits of former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il is being investigated by the Ministry of State Security (MSS), Daily NK reports.

The mother was living in a shared house with another family in Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province, when the fire broke out on Dec. 30, the South Korea-based online newspaper reported.

Sources told Daily NK that children were at home and the parents were out when the fire started. When made aware of the blaze, the mothers returned home and retrieved their children from the burning house. One of the mothers, however, was unable to recover the portraits of North Korea’s first two dynastic leaders, prompting the investigation.

The other mother is not under investigation as a bystander managed to save her family’s portraits. Sources told NK daily that bystander, a farmer who had recently been released from prison for a violent offense, is now being treated as a “hero.”

The mother under investigation has reportedly been unable to visit her children at the hospital or acquire the antibiotics needed to treat their burn wounds on account of the probe.

Neighbors are reportedly reluctant to help purchase the medicine due to the political nature of her investigation.

“The mother will be able to focus on caring for her children once the authorities end their investigation,” one source told Daily NK.

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Pictures of Kim Il Sung, founder of North Korea, and his son Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un, are ubiquitous in North Korea.

Apart from millions of such images being displayed prominently in public, portraits of the dynastic leaders are also required in private residences.

Such portraits must be hung high, so that no one can stand above them.

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