North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
The power struggle between the two brothers who once vied for the leadership of North Korea ended this week with a brutal assassination in the departure lounge of Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Airport. Kim Jong-nam had never met the man believed to have ordered his murder as North Korean tradition demands that potential successors to the supreme leader are raised separately.
But he had long known that his half brother Kim Jong-un – they were sons of the late dictator Kim Jong-il by different mistresses – wanted him dead. The head of the NIS, the South Korean equivalent of the CIA, confirmed as much yesterday saying that North Korea had been plotting to kill Kim Jong-nam since at least 2012. He added: “After Kim Jong-un came to power, he gave a standing order that Kim Jong-nam had to be taken care of, at all costs.”
And it appears that on Monday that ambition was finally fulfilled. Latest reports indicate that the victim was poisoned by two female North Korean agents, with one of the suspects caught on CCTV wearing a white top emblazoned with “LOL”, cyber-shorthand for “Laugh Out Loud”.
One theory suggests that the assassins pressed a cloth doused in chemicals to his face and burned his eyes. Another that they stabbed him with a poisoned needle. US sources argued that a fountain pen may have been used to spray the poison.
Kim Jong-nam was brutally assassinated in the departure lounge of Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Airport
If it is confirmed that Pyongyang is behind Kim Jong-nam’s murder, it will be only the latest in a string of ruthless executions ordered by North Korea’s baby-faced dictator. He is estimated to have dispatched at least 340 people during his five-year reign, almost half of them senior government officials and several of them family members
He gave a standing order that Kim Jong-nam had to be taken care of, at all costs
Kim Jong-nam’s journey from heir apparent of North Korea’s communist leader to decadent prodigal son began in 2001 when he attempted to enter Japan to visit Tokyo’s Disneyland using a forged passport and a Chinese alias that translates as “Fat Bear”.
His father, the late Kim Jong-il, already considered his son “a little capitalist” as a result of an eight-year stint being educated in Geneva. But the Disneyland incident embarrassed him so profoundly that he cancelled a planned visit to China and in the years that followed groomed his youngest son Kim Jong-un for the succession.
After Jong-un became supreme leader of the hermit kingdom at the age of 28 in 2011, his older half brother occasionally sniped at him for his youth, inexperience and failure to embrace economic reform.
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But he harboured no ambitions to depose him, claiming that he didn’t have the confidence to take on the responsibility of running a poverty-stricken nation of 25million people.
on people. He lived in a modest apartment block in the Chinese territory of Macau with his second wife and two children.
General Jang Song Thaek, who was married to Kim Jong-un’s aunt, had been one of Kim’s most influential political mentors as he settled into his role as head of state and was reputed to be the second most powerful man in the country.
General Jang Song Thaek was arrested on an array of charges, including treason and corruption Kim Jong-Un in pictures Mon, January 23, 2017
Kim Jong-Un, The Supreme Leader of North Korea takes himself and his leadership very seriously.
Play slideshow AFP/Getty Images 1 of 62
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un paying his final respects at the bier of Kang Ki Sop, alternate member of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK and general director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation, following Kang's death at an undisclosed location in North Korea.
But in December 2013 the 67-year-old was arrested on an array of charges, including treason and corruption, and for squandering £3million at a foreign casino. There was even talk of a difference over a tile mosaic in honour of the country’s founding fathers.
Colourful language was employed at the ensuing military show trial: “Despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.” Naturally, such vile deeds demanded the death penalty but there is some doubt over how it was carried out. One version has it that he and five aides were stripped naked and pushed into a metal cage, where they were set upon by 120 Alsatians that had not been fed for three days. More reliable sources indicate that Jang was executed by firing squad.
Ri Yong-jin was executed in August last year for falling asleep duri
Jang’s widow Kim Kyong-hui was understandably grief-stricken by her husband’s death but made the mistake of berating her psychopathic nephew for about it.
Five months after Jang’s execution, she was dead too. Some say the 68-year-old died from a stroke during an impassioned argument about her husband’s execution in May 2014. But a defector later claimed that Kim ordered her murder – by poisoning – along with seven other family members.
The deputy public security minister O Sang-hon was another victim of the purge General Jang’s associates. He was accused of conspiring with his boss to turn their government department into a protection racket. He was also unfortunate enough to be selected for one of Kim’s more experimental means of execution: death by flame-thrower.
Inside North Korea: The pictures Kim Jong-un doesn't want you to see Thu, December 15, 2016
Since 2008, photographer Eric Lafforgue ventured to North Korea six times. Thanks to digital memory cards, he was able to save photos that was forbidden to take inside the segregated state
Play slideshow Eric Lafforgue/Exclusivepix Medi 1 of 69
Taking pictures in the DMZ is easy, but if you come too close to the soldiers, they stop you
The Defence Minister
Kim Jong-un named Hyong Yong-Chol, 66, as head of North Korea’s military within a year of taking power but by April 2015 he had fallen from favour.
According to South Korean intelligence officers, the supreme leader grew tired of him falling asleep in meetings and answering back.
And Kim was clearly determined to make an example of Hyong for his impudence. Instead of a conventional firing squad, he arranged for anti-aircraft guns, which fired 14.5mm rounds, to be used at the ensuing execution.
Defence Minister Hyong Yong-Chol was executed with anti-aircraft guns
Anyone who nods off in the presence of Kim is clearly signing their own death warrant. North Korea’s top education official Ri Yong-jin was executed in August last year with a high-calibre machine gun for falling asleep during a meeting, according to reports.
The Army Boss
Kim Chol, a vice minister in the army, made the mistake of “drinking and carousing” during the official mourning period for Kim Jong-il. e was arrested in April 2014 and sentenced to death with the late dictator’s grieving son ordering that “no trace of him be left behind, down to his hair,” according to sources in South Korea sources.
Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been targeted for a mortar round and “obliterated”.
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