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North Korea's Giant Man Spotted At Kim Jong Il Funeral Procession

North Korea Giant

First Posted: 12/29/11 05:31 PM ET Updated: 12/31/11 10:36 AM ET

In a sea of indistinguishable onlookers clad in black with their backs turned to the camera, one man stood out at Kim Jong Il's funeral.

The Associated Press released a photo of the procession in North Korea, and a hawk-eyed Reddit contributor was quick to point out an anomaly in the otherwise uniform crowd of mourners. In the photo above, one man appears to be nearly twice as tall as the gentlemen on his left and right.

Who is this giant? Could it be Ri "Michael" Myung Hun -- North Korea's national basketball star -- as some commenters have suggested? Thanks to North Korea's strictly controlled and photoshop-happy media, rumors are certain to abound, and we may never know for sure.

Likely due to a lower standard of living and malnutrition in the North, some studies show a growing discrepancy between the average height of North and South Koreans since the peninsula was split in two. With North Koreans clocking in at about 2 inches shorter on average, the massive mourner stands out even more next to his North Korean compatriots.

On Wednesday, Kim Jong Il's youngest son -- the new "supreme leader" of North Korea, Kim Jong Un -- led an elaborate funeral, and North Korean citizens across the country bowed their heads for 3 minutes of silence to pay tribute to the fallen dictator.

While the mystery man may have been relegated to the back row, chances are he still got a great view of the deceased Dear Leader's funeral procession.

Correction: A previous version of this article listed Ri Myung Hun as an NBA star. Although he planned to join the league, he was unable to play.

Below, see photos of North Korea's new ruler, Kim Jong Un:
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  • In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, Kim Jong Un, second from left, the third son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, claps after inspecting the construction site of the Huichon Power Station with his father in Chagang Province, North Korea. (AP)

  • In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 and distributed by Korea News Service in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010, Kim Jong Un, son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, accompanies his father's visit to the Kangso Mineral Water Processing Factory in Pyongannam Do, North Korea. (AP)

  • In this undated photo released by (North) Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, center, accompanied by his heir apparent Kim Jong Un, right, and others, poses for a photo during his visit to the Huichon Youth Electrical Complex Power Station in Huichon, North Korea. (AP)

  • In this photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, front left, and his son Kim Jong Un, front right, look at the gifts brought by visiting Chinese Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu, center, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. (AP)

  • In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency on Thursday, April 7, 2011 and distributed by Korea News Service in Tokyo on Friday, April 8, 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right in front row, along with his son Kim Jong Un, left, pose with other officials during his visit to the Kanggye General Tractor Plant in Kanggye City, North Korea. (AP)

  • In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, North Korea leader Kim Jong Il, right, and his son Kim Jong Un attend a massive military parade to mark the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP)

  • In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the communist nation's ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP)

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Filed by Clare Richardson  |