Public execution by anti-aircraft gun was the price of perceived disloyalty for North Korea's defense chief—or was it? The report of Hyon Yong Chol's alleged April 30 execution in front of hundreds came from the mouth of South Korea's National Intelligence Service. Today, the New York Times and Yonhap highlight two things giving some pause about that report. One oddity: Purged officials are usually completely purged, in that they no longer appear in North Korean newspapers and TV. This wasn't the case with Hyon, who has been shown in TV footage (which the Times refers to as "old propaganda films") after April 30.
"There needs to be more analysis on why" this is the case, says an unnamed South Korean ministry official. Cheong Seong-chang with the South's Sejong Institute also points out that the North's official party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, mentioned Hyon on April 30. What that indicates to Cheong: "This means he was not arrested until April 29. It means that he was arrested on April 30 and executed in the same day. This is hard to believe, unless he tried something unlikely, such as the assassination of Kim Jong Un." Read more on Hyon's alleged execution. (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)