A report by Daily Mail states North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un had his defense minister publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun after he fell asleep during meetings.
On April 30, Hyon Yong-Chol, 66, was gunned down in front of hundreds of military officials at a military camp in Pyongyang. He was named the head of North Korea’s defense in 2012.
This does not come as a huge surprise, as satellite images taken in October were reported to show many unidentified people being killed by a ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun. In the images, the targets were placed only 100 feet from the guns that have a range of 26,000 feet.
According to Han Ki-Beom, deputy director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Agency, the execution was witnessed by hundreds of officials. Hyon’s method of death is reported to be reserved for senior officials who the leadership desire to make examples of.
Apparently, Hyon was caught falling asleep on different occasions during formal military events as well as having spoken back to Kim Jong-Un on several occasions. Hong Hyun-ik, chief researcher at the Sejong Institute, says the body would be “utterly unrecognizable” because of the gun used.
“Because there are several guns bound together, it would be hard to find the body after firing it once. It’s really gruesome. What they did would have ripped all his flesh off, done in the manner of ‘let’s see what sort of punishment this is,” Hyun-ik said.
Hyon’s last known public outburst was at a security conference in Moscow in April, but his constant dozing off played a larger role in the decision to have him executed. Hyon was arrested late last month and killed three days later. There were no legal proceedings before his death.
The execution of Hyon is another example of purges made by Kim Jong-Un after his father’s death in his effort to bolster his grip on power in North Korea. In total, 70 officials have been executed since Kim took over in 2011.