Man faces life in prison after spiking relative’s soup with poison

The man killed his sister-in-law's husband after learning that he had sexually abused his wife over many years

A North Korean man has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering the husband of his sister-in-law. The convicted man was discovered to have spiked the victim’s soup with rat poison after discovering that he had sexually assaulted the assailant’s own wife on a sustained basis over a period of several years. 

A source from North Hamgyong Province reported the case to Daily NK on December 9, explaining that the man was an agricultural worker in his 30s living with his wife in Myongchon County. Myongchon County is an agricultural region southwest of the provincial capital, Chongjin. It lays due east of North Korea’s nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. 

The murder happened when, having been married for three years, the man learned that his wife had been suffering sexual abuse at the hands of the husband of her elder sister.  

It reportedly emerged during the trial that the sexual abuse had been going on since before the couple were married. The woman fell pregnant at least once during this period, necessitating an abortion. 

criminal court
A picture of a North Korean criminal court. / Image: Yonhap

“The husband could not control his anger at this,” the source said. “He seems to have thought that murdering the culprit would be the only way to protect his family. So, in the middle of September he invited the sister-in-law’s family to have dinner together, put rat poison in the man’s soup and killed him.”

The murdered man is said to have complained of severe stomach pains and was taken to hospital. However, he collapsed foaming at the mouth and never recovered.

Suspicious about the circumstances surrounding the death of her husband, the elder sister asked the local police station to investigate the case. When an autopsy revealed the use of rat poison, suspicion fell upon those who had been eating dinner immediately before the death, and in due course the culprit was revealed. 

Sentencing the assailant at the beginning of December, the court noted that the murder victim had also been guilty of a crime, but that this was insufficient in itself to excuse an act of premeditated murder. The court handed down a sentence of life imprisonment.

*Translated by Chris Green

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to