North Korea’s defence minister has been publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for falling asleep during military meetings and answering back to leader Kim Jong-Un.
Hyon Yong-Chol, 66, who was named head of North Korea’s military in 2012, was killed in front of hundreds of bloodthirsty officials at a military camp in the capital Pyongyang on April 30.
It is not the first time a ZPU-4 anti-aircraft gun has been used for executions in North Korea, with recently released satellite images showing a number of unidentified people being killed using the brutal method at the same camp last October.
Those images showed the targets just 100 feet from the guns, which have a range of 26,000 feet
Han Ki-Beom, deputy director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Agency, told a parliamentary committee that hundreds of officials watched the execution in Pyongyang on April 30.
The intelligence service told politicians that Hyon was killed by an anti-aircraft gun at Kang Kon Military Academy – a method cited in various unconfirmed reports as being reserved for senior officials who the leadership wishes to make examples of.
Hyon was apparently caught falling asleep during formal military events and is said to have also spoken back to Kim Jong-Un on several occasions.
Lawmaker Shin Kyoung-min, who attended the parliamentary briefing during which news of the execution was announced, said the NIS believed it to be true.
Hong Hyun-ik, chief researcher at the Sejong Institute, a security think tank based in Seoul, told local broadcaster YTN that the anti-artillery gun used would have left the body utterly unrecognizable.
‘Because there are several guns bound together, it would be hard to find the body after firing it once. It’s really gruesome. What they did would have ripped all his flesh off, done in the manner of ‘let’s see what sort of punishment this is.’
The execution was initially reported by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, although reports from North Korea are impossible to independently confirm.
The lawmakers said Hyon was executed at a firing range at the Kanggon Military Training Area, which is located 14 miles north of the capital Pyongyang.
The satellite pictures revealed for the first time that Kim’s regime were using anti-aircraft weapons to brutally execute people in front on hundreds of people.
The images, which have been released by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea and AllSource Analysis, were taken in October last year.
They appear to show six ZPU-4 anti-aircraft guns being used to shoot a line of people stood 100 yards away, with a viewing platform located nearby.
Outraged critics said the victims would have been ‘pulverised’ by the artillery fire, in what they described as the latest example of brutality employed by the dictator to suppress his own people.
Hyon was last known to have spoken publicly at a security conference in Moscow in April, but is said to have shown disrespect to Kim by dozing off at a subsequent military event.
He was also believed to have stood up to and publicly complained about Kim, and had not ignored official orders on multiple occasions, according to the lawmakers.
Hyon is understood to have been arrested late last month and executed three days later without legal proceedings.
Hyon is believed to have been a military general since 2010 and served on the committee for late leader Kim Jong-il’s funeral in December 2011, before becoming defence minister.
In North Korea, the defence minister is mainly in charge of logistics and international exchanges.
Source: Daily Mail