North Korea suffers under one of the most brutal regimes in the world, with supreme leader Kim Jong-un and his administration flagrantly abusing human rights and limiting the rest of the world’s ability to render aid. Now, it appears that dissent may be spreading throughout North Korea’s government as news of a gruesome execution of the country’s defense minister via anti-aircraft fire surfaces.
According to South Korea, which maintains a broad intelligence network throughout North Korea, their National Intelligence Service has briefed lawmakers about reports that People’s Armed Forces Minister Hyon Yong Chol was executed in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, late last month.
Most unusual was the method of the execution, which appears to have involved direct fire from an anti-aircraft gun in front of hundreds of spectators. The NIS claims that Kim Jong-un wanted to punish Chol for falling asleep during a meeting, as well as for talking back to the supreme leader. Such a move would come as no surprise, as North Korea has become known for the brutal slaughter of political dissidents for petty reasons.
As for how the NIS managed to ferret out such detailed intelligence from North Korea, the agency has remained secretive. “The NIS official said it had been confirmed by multiple sources… it is still just intelligence, but he said they were confident,” a source close to the matter told Reuters.
If Chol was executed as alleged, cracks may be starting to appear in what has seemed from the outside to be an ironclad dictatorship with no room for insubordination. The NIS claims that Kim Jong-un has been carrying out a spree of executions since 2011, taking out over a dozen government officials, an ex lover, and his own uncle in a series of vengeful orders.
Image source: North Korea Leadership Watch