'Enraged' Kim Orders Execution of 5 Top Officials: S. Korea

Says the latest purges arose over security officials making false reports
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2017 9:21 AM CST
Seoul: North Korea Is Executing Top Honchos Again
In this Feb. 3, 2017, file photo, a man watches a TV showing North Korea's security minister, Kim Won Hong.   (Ahn Young-joon)

North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that "enraged" leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's spy agency said Monday. The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim's estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam. South Korea believes Kim Jong Un ordered the hit. The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, said South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo. It's not clear what false reports they allegedly made, and the NIS didn't say how it got its information.

Of note: South Korean spies have a spotty record reporting on high-level events in cloistered North Korea. Pyongyang fired Kim Won Hong in January, presumably over corruption, abuse of power, and torture committed by his agency, Seoul said earlier this month. The fallen minister had been seen as close to Kim Jong Un. North Korea has not publicly said anything about Kim Won Hong or the alleged executions. Lee also cited the NIS as saying that Kim Won Hong's dismissal was linked to those false reports, which "enraged" Kim Jong Un when they were discovered. Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un has reportedly purged a large number of high-level government officials in what rival Seoul has called a "reign of terror." (This man could help solve Kim Jong Nam's murder, but there's a catch.)

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