The aunt of Kim Jong Un died of stroke on the phone while the North Korean dictator ranted. Kim Kyung Hee, 68, was the sister of Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader who died three years ago and left his son in power. The Week reports that she and her nephew were in a “heated” exchange over the execution of her husband and had to be admitted to the hospital, according to a senior defector, Kang Myong Do, a son-in-law of a former North Korean prime minister.
The aunt has not been seen for over a year since husband Jang Song Thaek was killed by firing squad on December 12, 2013, the New York Post reports. It goes on to say that since her husband’s death, she has been the source of “wild speculation.”
Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un’s uncle by marriage, was considered “instrumental in his rise to power,” and before his execution, he was described as the “second-most powerful figure in North Korea,” reports CNN. It goes on to say that Kim Jong Un charged the uncle with attempt to overthrow the government.
According to a New York Daily News report, Jang Song Thaek was a top official in the Korean Workers Party and was stripped of all governmental titles in December 2013. Subsequently, the North Korean government made a list of 200 high-ranking supporters of his and their family members, totaling about 1,000 people, and sent them, without trial, to a concentration camp.
This past October, North Korea publicly acknowledged the existence of its labor camps after a “highly critical U.N. human rights report” that came out earlier this year, according to a report by the Huffington Post. It goes on to say that Choe Myong Nam, a North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of U.N. affairs and human rights issues, denied having prison camps and, in practice, “no prison, things like that.”
He did, however, admit to the “reform through labor” camps where “people are improved through their mentality and look on their wrongdoings.” He said that the “re-education” labor camps are reserved for “common offenders” as well as some political offenders. However, political prison camps are composed of a harsher system, according to the report.
The Daily Mail gives detailed accounts of defectors from the concentration camps. There are reports of prisoners forced to dig holes in a field, and then “stand on the edge before being hit on the back of a head with a hammer.” It goes on to say that prisoners were often worked to death, and faced with starvation, many ate “grass, rats, snakes, and even ants in a desperate bid to stay alive.”
Earlier this week, the Inquisitr reported that Kim Jong Un announced the banning of the use of his name in the country, a practice of the ancient dynasties of China and neighboring countries. Further, it goes on to say that the citizens are being trained to “voluntarily change their names,” though it is not known what methods are being used to accomplish this.
The aforementioned CNN report concluded that the media outlet could not “independently confirm the defector’s information.” It went on to say that Korean media reported that Kim Jong Un’s aunt committed suicide within a week of her husband’s death, but it was not announced because the government didn’t want people to link her death to his.
[Image via Fox News]