Sunday 18 March 2018

Kim cuts down on executions amid unrest fears

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AP/Wong Maye-E)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (AP/Wong Maye-E)

Julian Ryall in Seoul

North Korean authorities are reportedly conducting fewer public trials and executions of citizens accused of infringements such as attempting to defect, out of concern that “brutal” treatment could trigger a wave of public resentment.

“Until last year, individuals accused of sowing discontent or creating social disorder through offences such as cutting into electric lines [to steal power], watching South Korean media, or attempting to defect, underwent public trials and execution by firing squad”, a source in North Korea told the Seoul-based Daily NK website. “But this year, the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of People’s Security have been laying low”, the source said.

As well as executing ordinary citizens, Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, is believed to have ordered the elimination of dozens of senior political and military officials.

But now “the authorities acknowledge that the residents are going through difficulties and thus are refraining from open trials and executions”, the Daily NK reported. “They seem to be aware of the danger of worsening public sentiment.”

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News