O Sang-hon, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Security was recently executed with the incendiary device, a source told South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
As many as 11 senior party officials with close ties to Jang have apparently recently been executed or sent to political prison camps.
Jang was publicly purged in December and “executed by machine gun” after being found guilty of corruption and activities that ran counter to the policies of the Workers’ Party of Korea. It has been reported all Jang’s relatives, including his children, were rounded up and executed, as well.
O was executed because he purportedly worked with Jang to turn the ministry into a personal security division to help safeguard business dealings, according to the South Korean publication.
While the execution-by-flamethrower report could not be immediately confirmed, previous executions suggest that the North Korean leadership can be inventive when it comes to ridding itself of those no longer in favor.
“In 2012, a vice minister of the army was executed with a mortar round for reportedly drinking and carousing during the official mourning period after Kim Jong-il’s death in December of the previous year,” according to The Independent.
“On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave ‘no trace of him behind, down to his hair,’ South Korean media reported, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been targeted for a mortar round and ‘obliterated,’” the publication added.
North Korea ranks among the bleakest places on the planet.
It is the world’s most militarized society, with nearly 10 million active, reserve, and paramilitary personnel out of a total population of less than 25 million.
Isolated, the nation tightly controls the political expression, with those deviating from the government line subject to re-education in sprawling labor camps.
It ranks last in a worldwide Democracy Index, and there have been reports of severe restrictions on human rights and crimes against humanity “without parallel in the modern world.”
And if all that isn’t enough to coax you into booking a berth on the next Princess Cruises trip to the headwaters of the Taedong River, consider this: Nearly 1 million North Koreans have died of starvation since the 1990s, while millions more continue to suffer the effects of a persistent food crisis.
(Top: North Koreans bowing to the statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il.)