27/01/2012 08:25 GMT | Updated 27/01/2012 09:09 GMT

North Korea To Punish Mobile-Phone Users As War Criminals During Kim Jong Il Mourning Period

Citizens of North Korea are being warned they risk being branded - and punished - as war criminals if they are caught using mobile phones during the official mourning period for former leader Kim Jong Il.

Punishment under such terms could result in detention or even execution.

Luckily - depending on how you look at it - less than five per cent of North Korea’s population own mobile phones, TheNextWeb, reports.

The rules are in force for the duration of 100 days of mourning following the death of Kim Jong Il on December 17, the Telegraph reported.

His son and successor, Kim Jong Un is expected to share the role with his brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek.

Kim Jong Il took power in 1994 after the death of his father Kim Il Sung and was reported to have suffered a stroke in 2008.

Outside of North Korea Kim Jong Il will be remembered as a brutal leader who prioritised military growth over his own people's welfare.

Under his rule, North Korea built the world's fifth-largest military - even as the country starved in a prolonged famine. He also relentlessly pursued nuclear arms, an endeavour which culminated in the country's first nuclear test in 2006.

Watch a slideshow of Kim Jong Il's elaborate funeral: