North Korea executes army lieutenant general

North Korean soldiers and a guard post in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province. / Image=Daily NK

Sources have reported that a ranking officer of the Korean People’s Army in Pyongyang was recently executed by firing squad on charges of abusing authority and engaging in anti-Party acts.

“At the meeting room of the April 25 House of Culture in Moranbong District, a trial took place in the presence of the Chiefs of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Organization and Guidance Department and the general officer-ranked personnel of the Ministry of State Security, Ministry of People’s Security, Supreme Guard Command, General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, and Ministry of People’s Armed Forces. A public execution (attended by the same contingent as the trial) was then carried out at the firing range of the Kang Kon Military Academy located in Sunan District, Pyongyang,” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK on June 22.

The alleged victim was Hyon Ju Song, who had officially held the position of director of the inspection division of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces General Rear Services Bureau (Lieutenant General of the People’s Army) before his execution. However, since the inspection division does not appear to exist under the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces’ General Rear Services Bureau, according to sources, it is highly likely that the ‘director of the inspection division’ was a titular position and the individual in question was actually a member of the Central Party’s Control Commission who was sent to the General Rear Services Bureau.

Hyon Ju Song was born in Kanggye, Chagang Province in 1962 and enlisted in Unit 974 of the People’s Army after graduating from Nammun High School. He was then assigned to the Supreme Guard Command and served as a member of the Central Committee of the WPK and as the company commander of the security team for the vacation home of O Jin-u (Marshal of the People’s Army who was the former Minister of People’s Armed Forces, died in 1995).

Later, Hyon completed the battalion commander course at Taechon Military Academy (specializing in special forces officer training) and served as battalion commander of the rear services department and head of the provisions department at a military unit under the Supreme Guard Command. After he was promoted to the rank of colonel, he served as the head of the inspection section of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces General Rear Services Bureau fuel supply division.

The execution of a man who had been on the fast track to success, starting out as an enlisted soldier and rising to the rank of lieutenant general, was due to charges of abuse of authority, profiting the enemy, and anti-Party acts.

“While checking the oil supplies for the Sohae Satellite Launching Station during the comprehensive inspections of wartime supplies on April 10, Hyon stated, ‘We no longer have to suffer and tighten our belts to make rockets or nuclear weapons.’ This was seen as an abuse of authority and a treasonous statement that opposed the Party’s military-first policy,” the source said.

“He gave instructions to send out 1 ton of fuel, 580 kg of rice, and 750 kg of corn to military officers at the Launching Station and their families. This was considered an anti-Party act violating the Ten Principles for the Establishment of the Party’s One Ideology System,” the source added.

Hyon was held responsible for failing to maintain secrecy regarding the affairs of the Party, military, and government institutions, displaying generosity by distributing unauthorized handouts, and misrepresenting the ideology of the Party.

According to a separate source in Pyongyang who confirmed the incident, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un was irate when he received reports of the incident and ordered the execution of Hyon by firing squad, saying, “The ideological poisoning that is personal idolization is corrupting the chief personnel in the People’s Army. We must nip the bud of ideological poisoning.”

He added that following Kim’s orders, Hyon was put to trial and later brought to the Kang Kon Military Academy firing range to be shot with 90 rounds fired by nine death-row convicts of the 1st Company, 2nd Battalion of the military police department of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces.

“In relation to the public execution, measures were proposed to reinforce the ideology of the Party’s plenary meeting and to conduct teaching and lectures in all organizations such as intensive study and research/discussion groups. Orders were issued to increase the severity of administrative, Party-level, and legal punishments against and make an example of all ideological poisons that may impede North Korea’s declaration as a nuclear power,” he concluded.