North Korean defectors living in Seoul pray for peace and reunification of the divided Korean Peninsula, during a church service in Seoul April 7, 2013. (CNS photo/ Lee Jae-Won, Reuters)
From the FOX News site
many as 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea earlier this
month, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies or
possessing a Bible.
newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that the so-called criminals were put
to death in seven cities across North Korea on Nov. 3, in the first
known large-scale public executions by the Kim Jong-un regime.
source, who is familiar with internal affairs in the North and who
recently visited the country, told the paper that about 10 people were
killed in each city.
In Wonsan, a city of about 330,000 on the
eastern shore of North Korea, eight peopleheads covered with bagswere
tied to stakes in the Shinpoong Stadium in front a forcefully gathered
crowd of 10,000 people, including children, and then killed with machine
gun fire. The bodies were reportedly so riddles with bullet holes that
it was difficult to identify the victims. "Most of the Wonsan victims,"
reported FOX, "were charged with watching or illegally trafficking South
Korean videos, involvement in prostitution, or possessing a Bible."
Relatives and suspected "accomplices" of the victims have been sent to
There is no clear
reason for the executions. One government official noted they occurred
in cities that are centers of economic development. Wonsan is a port
city that Kim is reportedly planning to make a tourist destination by
building an airport, hotels and a ski resort on Mount Masik.
The English site of the Korea JoongAng Daily, which is the original source of the story, reports:
idea that executions would be held simultaneously on a weekend in seven
cities suggests an extreme measure by the central government to stamp
out public unrest or capitalistic zeal accompanying its development
The victims seem to be
guilty of crimes related to South Korea - like watching South Korean
films - or accused of corruption of public morals, especially sexual
Korean law allows executions for conspiring to overthrow the
government, treason and terrorism. But North Korea has also been known
to order public executions for minor crimes such as religious activism,
use of cell phones and stealing food to intimidate the public.
The site also reports that "there
were no executions in the capital of Pyongyang, where Kim relies on the
support of the country’s elite class. He continues to build luxury and
recreational facilities in the capital, such as a new water park."