North Korean officials publicly executed 80 people earlier this month, some for a variety of minor offences.
JoongAng, a conservative South Korean newspaper, made the allegation on Monday, stating that some individuals were killed just because they watched South Korean TV shows that had been smuggled into the country.
The publication printed the allegation off the back of one source, however one North Korean defector group have since backed the claim too.
The group added that these murders were committed on November 3 across seven cities. JoongAng’s insider has admitted to being “familiar” with the country’s internal affairs, and he has only just returned from the country.
One eyewitness has revealed that in Wonsan, 10,000 people were forcibly gathered together inside a sports stadium before being ordered to watch the death of eight people. They were then killed by firing squad after initially being tied to poles and then hooded.
An eyewitness to the incident commented, “I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were so riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards.”
Wonsan is a port city on North Korea’s eastern coast, which is set to be transformed into a resort in an attempt to try and attract foreign investment to the country.
It’s believed that their deaths were ordered by Kim Jong Un, the country’s 30-year-old leader, who hopes that this devastation will intimidate workers that might consider straying away from North Korea’s dictatorial social restrictions.
It’s believed that a portion of the victims were gunned down for watching illicit South Korean television shows, others for prostitution, while it’s also believed that some were murdered simply because they had a Bible in their possession.
North Korea Intellectual Solidarity (NKIS), another defector website, remarked several months ago that there were plans for public executions across the country. However, the Daily NK, a Seoul-based news website, have revealed that they have no information on the executions.
One official for the NKIS remarked, “The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people’s mindsets and is preemptively trying to scare people off.”
In North Korea it is illegal for residents to watch foreign films or television shows that haven’t been approved by government officials, while it is especially frowned upon to watch any productions from the country’s neighbors to the South.
It’s believed that in August Kim ordered the death of 12 entertainers who worked for the Unhasu Orchestra, one of which included his ex-girlfriend, Hyon Song Wol.
[Image via Everett Collection/Shutterstock]