Information about the death of 66-year-old General Hyon Yong Chol in front of hundreds of onlookers at a firing range just north of Pyongyang was relayed by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) to Seoul lawmakers, reports Reuters.
It is understood that Hyon did not go through any court proceedings before being executed sometime last month.
The general was considered treacherous for sleeping during military events and for second-guessing Kim’s orders, said NIS officials as reported by The New York Times, who quoted two lawmakers.
“The NIS official said it had been confirmed by multiple sources. It is still just intelligence, but he said they were confident,” said Shin Kyoung-min, a politician who attended the NIS briefing, told Reuters.
As explored in the top BBC video, Hyon’s execution is one of many of high-level purges that have been carried out since Kim took charge of the isolated Stalinist regime four years ago.
Prior to Hyon’s execution, Kim ordered 15 senior officials to their death this year alone, reports The New York Times.
Some of the officials were executed for watching South Korean soap operas.
Among the 15 were 4 members of the Unhasu Orchestra, who met their fate in front of a firing squad because of “espionage charges.”
In total, around 70 officials have been executed since Kim gained power in the repressive country after his father Kim Jong-il died in 2011.
It’s probably an understatement to say that the 30-something-year-old dictator’s ruthless streak has sowed some discord among North Korea’s elite.
“Kim Jong-un is demonstrating a leadership style that brooked no excuses for not following through with his orders,” Shin Kyoung-min, a South Korean lawmaker, told reporters, according The New York Times.
“Those who second-guessed him are considered challenging his authority and executed to set an example for the rest,” he said.
For more on Kim and his cult of personality, see below:
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