Shenyang, China -- A source from Pyongyang has reported news of the public execution of four people in the capital.
The source told The Daily NK on the 11th, “In December last year there was a public execution in the Seungho-district of Pyongyang for stealing.”
The four people were reportedly shot in a vacant lot in front of Seungho-ri Cement Factory.
The source explained further, “One of them was for stealing oil from a transformer, another one stole cables, and another stole 50 kilograms of corn from a collective farm and then sold it in the jangmadang.” The source was not aware of the fourth person’s crime.
The executions could all be said to have mitigating circumstances brought about by North Korea’s economic crisis. In addition, the stolen goods are worth shockingly little; in early April, 50kg of corn could be bought for around 50,000 won in the jangmadang, less than $20 at the black market rate.
However, mitigating circumstances don’t count for much in North Korea. The source said, “Once a public execution has been decided, the authorities don’t give any opportunity to make excuses for the crime. After feeding the prisoner a glass of liquor, they put a gag in his or her mouth and carry out the execution.”
According to “The Death Penalty in 2010”, a report released by Amnesty International in late March of this year, more than 60 people were publicly executed in North Korea in 2010.
The Japanese NGO ‘Rescue the North Korean People! Urgent Action Network’ has claimed it may be more, saying, “From December, 2009 to July, 2010 52 people were publicly executed including former Director of Planning and Finance Department Park Nam Ki and Vice Director Lee Tae Il.”