◆ Repercussions yet to come

What is the most serious political crime in North Korea? It is a betrayal against the Kim Jong-un regime. This is followed, in terms of seriousness, by the crime of fraternizing with South Koreans. These crimes are supposed to be punished by internment in a political prisoners’ camp or, in some casese, execution. We don’t know what happened to ‘Ryukyung Restaurant’. But we presume that they had reasons to escape. Possibly as a desperate attempt to save their own lives. That 13 defectors agreed together on such drastic actions may point to their defection as part of a wider, politically serious affair. They may have been facing a harsh punishment if they returned to North Korea.

That was not a problem of financial debt for the restaurant staff. Such a problem would at the most have them facing either a demotion or a light reprimand. Certainly nothing so serious that they would feel they would ruin their lives by returning to North Korea.

Memories of the execution of other high ranking officials - Jang Sung-thak; powerman, Hyon Yong-chol; Head of Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, and Lee Young-gil; Commander-in-Chief of Staff in the People’s Armed Forces – are fresh in the minds of North Koreans.

Besides those cases, it is reported that entertainers or middle rank officials were also executed. The rumors are widely spread that the executions were carried out by heavy machine gun, designed to tear apart the target, or a flamethrower to burn the victim alive.

The writer often receives information from reporting partners in North Korea that officials have been arrested for a trivial reason and sent to ‘management centers’ (political prisoners’ camp).

Kim Jong-un continues to rule North Korea with an iron fist. The government is taking a “No mercy for those who do not obey” to shore up the leader’s unstable regime.

The 13 defectors of ‘Ryukyung Restaurant’ are those individuals who should have strong loyalty to the regime, and were consequently permitted to work overseas. Their group defection is concrete evidence of the adverse effects of Kim Jung-un’s reign of terror. (ISHIMARU JIRO)

Rimjingang_banner001Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

ARCHIVE(pdf) >>