North executed seven subordinates with Jang

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North executed seven subordinates with Jang

North Korea did not execute its vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, Jang Song-thaek, alone - seven of his subordinates were killed alongside him on Dec. 12, according to an intelligence source yesterday.

Jang, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and once the country’s second-most powerful figure, was sentenced to death after Pyongyang found him guilty of treason.

“As North Korea has announced earlier, Jang was executed instantly following a special military tribunal led by the State Security Department of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK] on Dec. 12,” the government source said.

“We have found that eight people, including Jang, were executed together - including two Workers’ Party executives, two cabinet members, two soldiers and one corporate manager.”

The source is in the process of identifying those seven people.

The execution venue was inside the State Security Department in Pyongyang, and the killing took place in the presence of key members of the Workers’ Party who had attended the party meeting on Dec. 8, when Jang was stripped of all his titles and purged.

North Korea began an internal investigation into Jang during the spring over his alleged intervention in coal businesses and restaurants overseas managed by the Workers’ Party. The charges were expanded to treason.

“It appears that a lot of people who were close to Jang went under investigation, but those who actually carried out what Jang had ordered were executed,” the source said.

Although North Korea unveiled on Dec. 9 the photo of the former top North Korean official being arrested at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, he had been detained in his home since mid-November. Between then and the date he was executed, North Korean authorities killed Jang’s closest aides first and are still conducting an investigation into those connected with his treason charges.

However, intelligence indicates that Kim Jong-un appears to have recently ordered the authorities to take a prudent approach when it comes to additional executions amid escalating pressure from international society on North Korea’s human rights issues.

BY JEONG YONG-SOO [spring@joongang.co.kr]



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