Warning. Some content might cause distress. It seems like something out of a psychological thriller, but in North Korea, it is real life. An official was executed this week on the orders of Kim Jong Un with a flamethrower. Reportedly, this was due to a government “crack-down” on anyone who remains loyal to Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song-taek.
Mr. Jang, brother-in law to Kim Jong Il, was publicly relieved of his position in the North Korean government in December for charges of corruption. He was reportedly working against the national policies as understood by the Worker’s Party of Korea. Jang was then shot in cold blood, allegedly by a firing squad. Some reports then had him fed to dogs that had been starved for three days, but those claims are unsubstantiated. However, Jong un was not content to leave it there. He has also killed or exiled all members of his uncle’s family, including women and children. In the political circles, as many as 11 people have been executed or exiled to political prison camps for their ties with Song-taek.
O Sang-hun worked in the Ministry of Public Security, where he was a deputy minister. A source reported that he had been following instructions left by Mr Jang to use the department to safeguard his business deals by making it a personal security haven. His ties to Mr Jang and these actions reportedly merited death by flame thrower. Again, it seems that the simple order of removing the North Korean official was not enough for Kim Jong Un. In the case of this execution, he demanded that not even a single hair should be left of him, that he should be completely “obliterated.”
Jong Un has carved out a bloody path for himself. Since he came to power in 2012, he has demanded the death or exile of anyone who stood in his way, be they family or former friends. Just after he took over from his father Kim Jong Il, he executed a vice minister in the army who was said to have been “drinking and carousing” during the mourning period of the late dictator.
Members of his father’s inner circle, who were reportedly put in positions to offer guidance to the 31-year-old leader, have all mysteriously vanished from the public eye or been demoted. Musician in the orchestra, including the ex-girlfriend of the new dictator, were said to have been murdered using machine guns for the apparent crime of watching pornography. Reportedly, between 40 and 80 mass executions occurred in public just in 2013.
Kim Jong Un may continue his brutal reign with more orders to purge officials from his government. There are also possible problems between North and South Korea, as the North has been testing weapons with ranges that would easily reach the South and possibly even to US shores. In addition, several North Korean drones have been spotted in southern areas. The use of a flame thrower as means of execution is of a concern to the south, as the north steps up its offensive. What else are they to expect from their northern region?
By Sara Watson