Kim Jong-un
The Kim Jong-un haircut rumour is a hoax, although the fashion police do exist in North KoreaReuters

The viral rumour that Kim Jong-un's distinctive haircut is mandatory for every male university student in the capital is unfounded, according to many new sites. While just about believable, it turns out barbers in Pyongyang are not innundated with demands for their leader's undercut and floppy-curtain style.

According to Associated Press, the rumour is yet another "baldfaced lie" that the globe has fallen hook, line and sinker for. An AP journalist in the capital reported that there had been no sudden influx of leader-style haircuts, while Andray Abrahamian, executive director of the Singapore-based NGO Choson Exchangem told NK News: "I am pretty sure that this is just stupid, everyone had typical haircuts last week."

Yet the rumour is not without precedent. In 2005, North Korea launched a media campaign which argued that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" - which apparently affects human intellience. Apparently. The campaign was titled: "Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle".

Similarly, North Korea actually employs a fashion police. Choe Cheong-ha, a defector who left the country in 2004, said members of a state-run youth organisation regularly check for people who are not dressed appropriately. Prohibited attire includes lapels without the regulatory badges printed with images of the former leaders, and blue jeans.

Here are some other North Korea hoaxes that have fooled the world:

Kim Jong-un's uncle was fed to ravenous dogs

At the beginning of this year, the rumour that Jang Song-thaek was stripped naked and fed to a pack of hungry dogs circulated the UK and US press. Kim did, in fact, execute his uncle and former second-in-command - but it was more likely to have been by firing squad.

First teenager to land on the Sun

Less believable, perhaps, but the satirical report about a North Korean teenager as the first man to land on the Sun still became an Internet sensation. It was first published on Waterford Whispers News, a tongue-in-cheek news site, with claims that the country had fulfilled an overzealous plan to forward space exploration.

Refrigerators for winning athletes, gulags for the losers

In the last Olympic Games, it was reported that North Korean athletes - from athletes who had defected - that competitors had been trained from a very young age at specialised schools, where refrigerators were awarded to winners and unsuccessful athletes were sent to labour camps.

Kim Jong-il has invisible mobile phone technology

At the World Cup in 2010, rumours that Kim had an invisible phone spread like wildfire. As ABC news stated, the North Korean manager Kim Jong-Hun allegedly "got coaching advice directly from the country's diminutive dictator via an invisible cell phone".

Kim Jong-un had his wife executed

After Jang Song-thaek was put to death, fear emerged over the whereabouts of Kim's wife. Ri Sol-Ju had not been seen for several weeks, sparking rumours that her unpredictable leader husband may have had her killed too - yet she is seemingly still alive.