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Planet Earth's most brutal ruler

By Vipin Vijayan
July 01, 2015 11:23 IST
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Whom will North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un kill next, and how?

Image: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un watches a drill by the Korean People's Army. Photograph: Reuters

Tales of Kim Jong-un's ruthlessness -- some exaggerated -- have made him more feared within his country, and with a perpetual finger on the nuclear trigger earning him global notoriety.

Ever since he assumed power in 2011, the 32-year-old North Korean dictator is said to have executed nearly 75 people, including members of his family, for incurring his wrath or likely daring to stand up to him.

His latest order adds to his growing reputation for whimsical barbarity.

Image: Kim Jong-un, centre, with his wife Ri Sol Ju, third from left, at Pyongyang Airport's new terminal. Photograph: Reuters

Ma Won-chun, the chief architect of Pyongyang Airport's Terminal II, was reportedly murdered because Kim disliked his designs.

According to KCNA, the country's state news agency, Kim said: 'Defects were manifested in the last phase of the construction of the Terminal 2 because the designers failed to bear in mind the party's idea of architectural beauty that it is the life and soul and core in architecture to preserve the Juche (self-reliant) character and national identity.' (Whatever that means! North Korean-Commie gobbledygook!!!)

'It is necessary to finish the construction of the terminal to be an icon of Songun Korea, the face of the country and the gateway to Pyongyang.' (More North Korean-Commie gobbledygook!!!)

Kim's other murderous excesses:

Execution by anti-aircraft gun

Image: North Korean Defence Minister Hyon Yong Chol delivers a speech in Moscow, April 16, 2015. Inset: A ZPU-4 anti-aircraft system.

North Korean Defence Minister Hyon Yong-Chol was publicly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for reportedly falling asleep during military meetings and talking back to Kim.

The 66 year old, who was appointed head of North Korea's military in 2012, was killed with hundreds watching at a military camp in the capital Pyongyang on April 30.

The anti-aircraft gun system used was a ZPU-4 comprised of four 14.5mm heavy machine guns (similar to a US .50 caliber heavy machine gun) mounted on a towed wheeled chassis.

When directed at the human body at close range, the destruction would be devastating and a human body likely pulverised.

Mortar shelled for not mourning

Image: Kim Jong-un guides a multiple-rocket launch drill. Photograph: Reuters

In the days following Kim's takeover of his country, several key government officials and powerful generals were either arrested or executed.

Among them was then deputy defence minister Kim Chol, who was executed in January 2012 for enjoying liquor in the company of a female colleague in the North Korean military in violation of the dictator's explicit warning against 'singing or dancing, merrymaking or recreation' during the mourning period for his father Kim Jong-il.

Chol and others were reportedly executed using mortar rounds fired at point-blank range.

According to the strategic affairs magazine Foreign Policy, Chol attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower in Pyongyang with then Chinese Vice Premier (now Premier) Li Keqiang in October 2011.

The execution of an official who attended an event with a top leader of North Korea's solitary ally was possibly aimed at deterring any future challenges to the young leader.

Fed to hungry dogs!

Image: Kim Jong-un with his uncle Jang Song-thaek. Photograph: Reuters

When Kim Jong-il died, Jang Song Thaek -- married to the older Kim's sister and then considered the second most powerful man in North Korea -- was widely seen as regent to Kim Jong-un.

An insecure Kim felt his uncle was trying to create a power faction by letting people who had been previously dismissed return to work.

According to KCNA, 'From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il (Kim Jong-un's grandfather and father) were alive. He began revealing his true colours, thinking that it was just the time for him to realise his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.'

'The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crimes as attempting to overthrow the State,' KCNA added.

Jang was stripped of all posts and expelled from the Workers Party for offences including factionalism, corruption and dissolute behaviour. A special military tribunal found him guilty of treason.

Image: A woman walks past a television set showing a report on Jang Song Thaek at a railway station in Seoul. Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Branding him 'despicable human scum who was worse than a dog who perpetrated cursed acts of treachery' Jang and five of his aides were allegedly stripped naked and fed to 120 hungry hounds, who had been starved for three days.

The whole process lasted an hour, and as they were eaten, hundreds of officials watched. However, this version of Jang's death has been disputed.

A month later, reports emerged that Jang's relatives too had been executed.

The relatives executed include Jang's sister Jang Kye-sun, her husband Jon Yong-jin, North Korea's ambassador to Cuba, Jang Yong-chol, Jang's nephew of Jang and the country's ambassador to Malaysia, as well as his two sons.

The sons, daughters and grandchildren of Jang's two brothers were also executed, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, adding that it was unclear when they were put to death.

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