The uncle of North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un was eaten alive by 120 starving dogs after being stripped naked and locked in a cage, it has been reported.
Kim’s powerful uncle was stripped naked, thrown into a cage, and eaten alive by the pack of ravenous dogs in a punishment for treason, according to a newspaper with close ties to China’s ruling Communist Party.
The dogs were allegedly starved for five days before the execution.
Jang Song Thaek, who had been considered Kim’s second-in-command, was executed last month after being found guilty of “attempting to overthrow the state,” North Korea’s state-run news agency reported.
An official account of his death has never been disclosed by North Korean officials. But in its announcement of a death sentence, the North Korean regime described Thaek as “despicable human scum”, who was “worse than a dog”.
Thaek was married to Jong-un’s aunt, Kim Kyung-hee, and was a close adviser to the previous dictator Kim Jong-il.
Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that Jang and his five closest aides were set upon by 120 hunting hounds.
The men had been starved for three days before being set on by the dogs in a process known as “quan jue”, or execution by dogs.
Kim and his brother Kim Jong Chol supervised the one-hour ordeal along with 300 other officials, Wen Wei Po reported. The large gathering was made to watch to get across a clear message — anyone who challenges Kim will be severely punished.
The newspaper added that Jang and other aides were “completely eaten up.”
The newspaper has acted as a mouthpiece for China’s Communist Party.
Some critics cast doubt on the reports from the newspaper, saying the story was being manufactured to spread anti-North Korea propaganda.
In a New Year message, the North Korean leader hailed the removal from power and execution of his once-powerful uncle. His first personal comments on the matter referred to “scum elements” being eliminated from the ruling party.
Widespread worry about the country has deepened since Kim publicly humiliated and then executed his uncle and mentor, one of the biggest political developments in Pyongyang in years, and certainly since Kim took power two years ago after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
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 a speech broadcast by state TV. He didn’t mention his uncle by name. But Kim included rhetoric that some analysts saw as a first step to renewing dialogue with rival Seoul. Kim called for an improvement in strained ties with South Korea, saying it’s time for each side to stop slandering the other and urging Seoul to listen to voices calling for Korean unification.
That language, which is similar to that of past New Year’s messages, is an obvious improvement on last year’s threats of nuclear war, though there is still scepticism in Washington and Seoul about Pyongyang’s intentions.
Analysts are divided about the meaning of Jang’s execution on treason charges. Many, however, believe the purge shows Kim Jong Un struggling to establish the same absolute power his father and grandfather enjoyed.
The announcement of Jang’s fall opened up a rare and unfavourable window on the country’s inner workings, showing an alleged power struggle between Kim and his uncle after the 2011 death of Kim Jong Il. Jang’s public downfall was seen as an acknowledgment of dissension and loss of control by the ruling Kim dynasty. That has caused outside alarm as Kim Jong Un tries to revive a moribund economy and pushes development of nuclear-armed missiles.
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