Serial rapist publicly executed in North Korea

Map showing the route on which the perpetrator attacked his victims. Left corner is Jongson, central red square is Kangan, and the right upper square is Onsong. Image: Google Earth

A serial rapist who raped nine women in North Hamgyong Province’s Onsong County has been publicly executed by firing squad, local sources have reported.

“A public trial was held in an empty lot near the Kangan High School in Onsong County at 11am on November 19,” said the North Hamgyong Province-based source. “A human trafficker was sentenced to life in prison, while a serial rapist was tried and executed on the spot.”

The serial rapist was a 39-year-old man living in Onsong County who attacked young women near a “red rock” at the center of a road leading from Onsong Station to Jongsong County, said the source.

The area is near a hillside with many trees, and there are few houses nearby. Many women were said to have avoided traveling there even in the daytime. Wearing a mask and wielding a knife, the rapist would hide in the area before attacking and sexually assaulting his victims.

“Rumors that women were being raped in the area were common,” said the source. “Most women conducting business activities didn’t head down that road at night.”

The rapist was finally arrested after a courageous 21-year-old victim reported the man to police. She reported the crime immediately after being sexually assaulted while heading toward Onsong Station in September. The police placed surveillance on the man for approximately a month before arresting him as he was about to sexually assault another victim, according to a separate source in North Hamgyong Province.

“During his interrogation, he admitted to raping eight other women,” he said.

“The other victims hadn’t reported their assaults to the police, but admitted that they had been victims after being contacted by police officials.”

A human trafficker in his 60s was also given a life sentence during the public trial.

He had been a smuggler and human trafficker for close to 10 years, traveling back and forth between North Korea and China without restrictions, a third source in North Hamgyong Province reported.

“He was under surveillance by the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and, after realizing the fact, tried to escape to China. He was arrested by the Chinese authorities who were alerted to his whereabouts by the MSS. After being repatriated, he was interrogated for several months by the MSS and finally put on trial,” he said.

He added that the man had escaped arrest by the MSS in the past by paying off MSS agents, but recently the authorities have made fewer exceptions for human traffickers and his bribes ultimately could not save him from his fate.

Many Onsong County residents attended the public trial and execution, which was carried out in the “traditional fashion” of “shooting the head first so that the body falls face-first to the ground,” he reported.

Despite orders form the North Korean authorities to curtail public trials and executions, multiple sources inside North Korea have reported a spate of such cases starting last month, including the recent arrest and public trial of 36 workers in South Hamgyong Province.