HONG KONG - Former bank worker Thomas Hui has a fascination with badges from North Korea and has amassed a collection of more than 100 featuring former leaders of the Communist state.
The rare items, which are smuggled out of North Korea by Chinese people who do business there, are prized by collectors. Some sell for $600 or more.
Hui, 37, began collecting them after visiting Pyongyang in 2008 as a tourist. Badges of Kim II Sung, the state’s founder, are among his favorites.
Although he can’t confirm the badges are authentic, he said academic experts on North Korea have told him they are the real thing.