North Korean 'Fans' Actually Chinese Actors

Real North Koreans not allowed to leave country

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff | Suggested by outofsorts

Posted Jun 16, 2010 2:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Remember those rambunctious North Korean fans who made the trek to South Africa to watch their country take on Brazil? They were supposedly “hand picked” by Kim Jong-Il. Well, turns out they were hand picked right out of China. No actual North Korean fans were allowed to leave the country, Deadspin reports, and even if they were, there’s no way they could pay for the trip.

This wasn’t exactly a secret—it was first reported a month ago, and Chinese officials have openly admitted it. Yet loads of media outlets went along with the scam. North Korea did, incidentally, allow actual fans to travel to the World Cup in South Korea in 2002, but it didn’t end well. They broke their promise not to talk about what they’d seen there, and reportedly wound up in concentration camps.

Fans hold up a banner referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il prior to the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.
Fans hold up a banner referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il prior to the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Fans of the North Korean team cheer prior to the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, June 15, 2010.
Fans of the North Korean team cheer prior to the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, June 15, 2010.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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