The death of Kim Jong Un's uncle by '120 starving dogs' may have originated from a satirical Chinese website, it has been reported.
Jang Song Thaek (67) was executed last month, although the manner of his execution is still unclear.
It was originally thought that he was killed by firing squad, a fate reserved for 'traitor's of the country, but reports soon began emerging that he met his end in a much more brutal fashion.
The original story of his brutal death has been tracked to satirical Chinese website Tencent Weibo, which was picked by a Hong Kong newspaper and subsequently spread like wildfire.
Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong newspaper printed the first article, believed to stem from the original piece, whcih also featured a screen grab from the satirical website.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un has described his once-powerful uncle and mentor, whom he purged and executed, as "factionalist filth" in a new year message in which he boasted of a surge of internal strength.
Kim's comments, including those focusing on one of the biggest political developments in Pyongyang in years, and certainly since the young leader took power two years ago, will be closely scrutinised by outside analysts and governments for clues about the reclusive communist country's intentions and policy goals.
North Korea's "resolute" action to "eliminate factionalist filth" within the ruling Workers' Party has bolstered the country's unity "by 100 times," Kim said in the speech broadcast by state TV.
Analysts are divided about what Jang Song Thaek's execution on treason charges means, but many believe it shows Kim Jong Un has yet to establish the same absolute power that his father and grandfather enjoyed. Jang was widely considered the country's number two power.