Kim Jong-un: Fast facts about North Korea's leader
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un is still a mystery to many in the West, but here's what we do know
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has long been known for his excesses.
Whether it be his penchant for heavy drinking or the horrors he inflicts on the women he keeps as sex slaves, the strongman has long held his nation in fear as he rules over the Hermit Kingdom with unchecked powers. Kim, however, seems to save his most gruesome indulgences for the way he deals with people he considers enemies, traitors or insubordinates.
“He’s very dangerous,” Kim Yeomyong, a North Korean defector, told Fox News’ Greg Palkot during a recent interview.
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With Kim ordering people executed for offenses as seemingly benign as petty theft or falling asleep during a military parade, Fox News has compiled a list of some of the tyrant’s most ghastly killing methods.
Anti-aircraft Guns – While these weapons were designed to take down enemy fighter jets, they have become a favorite method of execution for Kim. In 2015, reports surfaced from South Korean intelligence that the dictator’s Defense Minister Hyong Yong-choi was pulverized to death by an anti-aircraft gun after the young despot ordered his execution for falling asleep during an event and not carrying out instructions.
Hee Yeon Lim, a 26-year-old defector, recently told western media that she was part of a crowd of 10,000 ordered to watch the execution by anti-aircraft guns of 11 musicians who allegedly made a pornographic video.
“What I saw that day made me sick in my stomach. They were lashed to the end of anti-aircraft guns,” she said. “A gun was fired, the noise was deafening, absolutely terrifying. And the guns were fired one after the other.”
She added: “The musicians just disappeared each time the guns were fired into them. Their bodies were blown to bits, totally destroyed, blood and bits flying everywhere…and then, after that, military tanks moved in and they ran over the bits on the ground where the remains lay."
Mortar Fire – Before the dictator discovered his fondness for anti-aircraft guns, he was known to use mortars to dispense with those who crossed him.
In 2011, a vice minister of the army was sentenced to death for allegedly drinking and partying during the official mourning period after Kim Jong Il’s death. The younger Kim apparently ordered “no trace of him left behind, down to his hair” before the vice minister was placed on a spot that had been targeted for a mortar round and “obliterated”.
Flamethrower – Multiple news sources reported in 2014 that, as part of Kim’s purge of high-ranking officials, O Sang Hon, the deputy public security minister, was “executed by flamethrower.”
The purge that killed O Sang Hon also saw all 11 of the security ministry’s most senior officials either executed or sent to one of Kim’s notorious concentration camps.
Prison Camps – While Kim’s execution tactics are brutal and depraved, they can at least described as quick deaths. The same cannot be said for the poor souls sentenced to one of the dictator’s prison camps.
Similar to Nazi concentration camps during World War II, prisoners at these camps – who can be sent there for crimes as simple as stealing rice or distributing South Korean media – are subjected to harsh labor, cruel beatings, violent rapes and, many times, execution at the hands of their captors. Or a slow death by starvation.
Feeding to the dogs – Reports that Kim sent packs of hungry dogs to devour his enemies turned out to be false, but a defector recently reported many women imprisoned in North Korea are raped and, after giving birth, quickly executed. The babies are then provided as food to guard dogs.
The defector, 29-year-old Park Ju-yong, said that the guards who carried out the horrific acts were simply removed from their positions in the prison camps as punishment for their actions, while prisoners were forced to stone other prisoners to death and would be threatened with executions themselves if they didn’t participate.
Public executions – Taking the form of firing squads, hangings and even decapitations, the public killing is a favorite method of execution for Kim.
Carried out everywhere from fish markets to school yards, public executions are seen as Kim’s twisted attempt to create an "atmosphere of fear" throughout the dictatorship.
"In ordinary areas outside the prison system, our interviewees stated that public executions take place near river banks, in river beds, near bridges, in public sports stadiums, in the local marketplace, on school grounds in the fringes of the city, or on mountainsides," a recent report, released by The Transnational Justice Working Group in Seoul, noted.
Poisoning – Seemingly too subtle of a method for Kim, who obviously prefers over-the-top theatrics when it comes to killing, the North Korean strongman isn’t above treachery…especially when it comes to family.
After killing her husband, Kim Kyong-hui – the dictator’s own aunt – was allegedly poisoned to death after he grew tired of her complaints. And to make sure that nobody else would bother him, Kim ordered the rest of his aunt’s family – around seven members – killed.