North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of 10 officials for charges ranging from watching soap operas to graft.
Bloomberg reports that it appears that Kim Jong Un is seeking to erase the remaining influence of his dead uncle by executing about 10 senior Workers' Party officials on charges from graft to watching South Korean soap operas. The reports come from an aide to a South Korean lawmaker. The deaths, which occurred by firing squad, are likely part of Kim's latest round of purges said Lim Dae Sung, an aide to ruling South Korean Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo, who attended a briefing at the National Intelligence Service yesterday in Seoul. Kim had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, killed in December last year.
It is unclear at this time which officials were executed or when the executions took place. Kim took over power of North Korea in 2011 when his father passed away. However, it appears that Un may have felt threatened by his uncle and so did away with the problem altogether. Yang Moo Jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, notes that Un is trying to strengthen his regime.
"Kim Jong-un is trying to establish absolute power and strengthen his regime with public punishments. However, frequent purges can create side effects."Kim Jong rules the nation with an iron fist and doesn't allow mishaps to slide easily. The Malay Mail notes that North Korea has expanded prison camps and increased public executions, with about 50 people executed this year by firing squad. The isolated nation has also demoted army executives, including an army commander, for the low accuracy rate of the nation's artillery.
To lessen the public's poor perception of the executions, a variety of charges can be filed such as a charge of watching South Korean soap operas or graft, the use of a politician's authority for personal gain.
With all his power in the small country, Kim is still an elusive figure with much not known about the man. In fact, his age is only speculated to be around 30. An exact age is not known. He was also recently pulled into the spotlight when he went missing for about six weeks without a public appearance. The media speculated at the reason for Un's disappearance, many wondering if the ruler had become ill or was battling a disease such as diabetes.
However, a South Korean spy organization says that they now know why Un was absent from the spotlight for so long and it isn't as dire as suspected. Un simply was undergoing surgery to remove an ankle cyst.