Executions to disappearance: Strange ways of North Korea's Kim Jong Un

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 14, 2015 01:58 IST

North Korea executed its defence chief by putting him in front of an anti-aircraft gun at a firing range, Seoul's National Intelligence Service told lawmakers, the latest in a series of high-level purges since Kim Jong Un took charge.

Hyon Yong Chol, 66, who headed the isolated country's military, was charged with treason, including disobeying Kim and falling asleep during an event at which North Korea's young leader was present, according to South Korean lawmakers briefed in a closed-door meeting with the spy agency on Wednesday.

Kim Jong Un is not new to controversial executions. There have been many stories doing the rounds since his coming to power. Here is a list of a few of them.

Kim Jong's uncle executed

North Korea executed Kim Jong-un's uncle as a "traitor for all ages" who sought to grab power. Jang Song-thaek, previously one of the country's most powerful men, was ousted in a purge. He was stripped of all posts and expelled from the Workers party for offences including factionalism, corruption and dissolute behaviour.

Kim Jong climbs N Korea's highest mountain

Kim scaled the country's highest mountain in April. A photo showed a smiling and wind-swept Kim standing on a snow-covered mountaintop, the sun rising behind him.

"Climbing Mt Paektu provides precious mental pabulum (intellectual sustenance) more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon," the Rodong newspaper quoted Kim as saying.


In 2014, the North Korean leader disappeared from public view. There were rumours that he was gravely ill, deposed or worse. He reappeared after six weeks. North Korea’s main party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, dedicated the front page of its edition to Mr. Kim’s reappearance in public. The paper carried a series of photos of Mr Kim smiling and moving about with a cane in his left hand, giving credence to the theory that he had been suffering a leg problem.

'Executed' singer returns

A North Korean singer said to be Kim Jong-Un’s ex-girlfriend and reported to have been executed by firing squad last year, miraculously reappeared on state television, apparently alive and well.

there were reports from newspapers in neighbouring South Korea reported that Hyon had been one of a group of musicians arrested and then machine gunned down after charges of pornography were brought against her.

According to the reports, the singer, along with band members of the Unhasu Orchestra, the Wangjaesan Light Music Band and the Moranbong Band were accused of filming themselves having sex with one another and then selling the recordings.

However, Hyon was seen on North Korean television, praising her leader for his work to help the arts sector in the country.

He ordered aunt to be poisoned

Kim ordered his own aunt to be poisoned, a North Korean defector has claimed.

A senior official who defected from North Korea said Kim was responsible for the death of his aunt Kim Kyong Hui - wife of Jang Song Thaek who was executed in late 2013.

Kim had Jang, 67, his one-time political mentor described as the second most powerful figure in North Korea, executed on an array of charges, including treason and corruption.

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