North Korea: Kim Jong-un’s ex-partner ‘executed’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. File photo: AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. File photo: AP
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KIM Jong-un’s former girlfriend has reportedly been executed by firing squad along with a dozen fellow North Korean musicians charged with violating laws against pornography, according to the respected South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

Pop singer Hyon Song-wol was reportedly machine-gunned along with 11 other entertainers, said the Seoul-based publication, which is South Korea’s largest daily newspaper.

It said performers from a well-known orchestra and light music ensemble were arrested on 17 August, accused of filming themselves having sex and then selling on copies of the tapes. A source said some allegedly had Bibles in their possession, and all were treated as political dissidents. The Communist regime castigates Christianity as an alien, and irrational belief system.

They were supposedly executed in public three days later, with the South Korean reports claiming that the rest of the Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band had been forced to watch.

In accordance with North Korea’s rules on guilt by association, their families were then taken away to detention camps, according to the reports.

North Korea’s supreme leader met Hyon about ten years ago when both were unmarried, but his father Kim Jong-il ordered the relationship to stop, reported Chosun Ilbo.

Since then Hyon reportedly married a soldier and Kim Jong-un married Ri Sol-ju, but there had been rumours the pair were still having an affair.

Before Ri Sol-ju married the current leader of the world’s last dedicated Stalinist country, she had also been a member of the Unhasu Orchestra.

Ri was first spotted alongside Kim at a series of public events in 2012. South Korean media initially suggested that she was Kim’s younger sister, Yo-Jong, before it emerged that she was Ri Sol-ju.

Ri apparently had to undergo six months of special training and abandon her singing career to become the Supreme Leader’s wife. Some of the Unhasu Orchestra’s most successful hits included Footsteps of Soldiers, I Love Pyongyang, She Is a Discharged Soldier, and We are Troops of the Party.

However, the group and Hyon were best known for their 2005 success Excellent Horse-Like Lady, also translated as A Girl in the Saddle of a Steed.

Such reports from North Korea are nearly impossible to verify. And other such killings ordered by Kim have been reported in the past. One widely reported claim suggested the vice-minister of the army was “obliterated” by mortar fire, for apparently drinking during the official mourning period after the death of Kim Jong-il.

Experts, though, remain sceptical: Michael Madden, who runs the North Korea Leadership Watch blog, insisted that stories of numerous violent deaths have been greatly exaggerated.

“If all the rumours of purges over the past five years were true”, he wrote, “then the parade review platform in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, would be desolate”.