According to the Korea Daily, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered public executions of 80 people earlier this month to petrify the citizens by showing them intolerance of what the communist government considers corruptive foreign influence.
A news organization run by North Korean dissidents has reported on rumors of the executions in seven cities across the country. Eighty people have been killed, the source claims, for offenses like watching South Korean entertainment videos and having possession of Bibles. The report also states that more than 10,000 residents in Wonsan, a port on North Korea’s eastern coast, were gathered in a stadium and forced to watch the executions.
Quoting its anonymous source, the Korea Daily stated that the victims were whipped to poles and sprayed with machine-gun fire. The source said that he “heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were so riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards.”
Relatives and friends of the victims were reportedly sent to prison camps, which were usually used by North Korean officials to scare and prevent the citizens from breaking the law. Those who were not executed were accused of capital crimes such as sedition, treason and terrorism in North Korea.
The alleged actions are being felt by Korean Americans in the United States.
“I think Kim Jong Un is trying to really limit not the media, but the pace at which it is going. Getting the media out to the commoners is inevitable, so what Kim Jong Un is doing is just stalling and frightening the rest of the North Koreans,” says Paul Chang, a Korean American senior at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES).
Chang says that the “rivalry between Capitalism and Communism makes the reporters really over dramatize North Korea and their situation,” but “what [Kim Jong Un] did was immoral.”