The Korean People’s Army slogan “Protect the Paektu Bloodline to the Death” first appeared at a military parade held in February 2023. The slogan makes clear that the military’s duty is to protect the Kim family at all costs. Screen capture from KCTV.

On the afternoon of August 30, a public trial was held in Hyesan, Yanggang Province, that ended in the execution of nine people. A reporting partner who was mobilized to witness the proceedings provided the following report. (KANG Ji-won)

◆ The nine committed the crime of killing and distributing the remains of a state-owned bull

The public executions were held at the Hyesan Airport, which is located on a high elevation area of Hyesan. Many people from various companies, government agencies and the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea were gathered there to witness the proceedings.

Nine people were executed for killing a state-owned bull used in farming and the transport of goods before secretly distributing its remains.

The reporting partner who witnessed the proceedings said: “The judge read out a judgement that said (the accused) disrupted the Workers’ Party’s efforts to solve food issues through the ‘agriculture first ideology’ and that they deserved to die. The nine were then immediately shot to death.”

The reporting partner also said that “after the executions, the judge warned that ‘nobody would be forgiven for perpetrating illegal acts and warned that those committing anti-socialist or non-socialist acts would face serious punishment by the state.’ I still have goosebumps from watching so many people die such bloody deaths. I still tremble because it was so frightening.”

For a long time, the Kim Jong-un regime has refrained from conducting public executions by firing squad, instead opting to conduct such executions in secret. Given that the execution was conducted in Hyesan, which is right on the border with China, the North Korean authorities likely intended for information about the execution to quickly spread to the outside world.

The restart of public executions, which are meant to serve as examples to others, suggests that the Kim Jong-un regime has decided to rule over its people by thoroughly instilling a sense of fear in them.

※ ASIAPRESS communicates with its reporting partners through Chinese cell phones smuggled into North Korea.