Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Ask a Korean! News: Serial Murders of North Korean Officials

More indications that North Korean regime is falling apart at the seams:  since last year, there have been a series of murders targeting the North Korean equivalent of police chiefs. According to the Dong-A Ilbo article by Joo Seong-Ha, there have been five cases of murders or attempted murders of high-ranking security officers, who are most directly involved in conducting surveillance on and extorting people. In February 2011, a local security bureau chief was killed in Cheongjin by getting hit by stones at night. In June 2011, a brigadier general working at Kim Il-Sung Political University was axed to death in Yanggang-do. In November 2011, a local security bureau chief was severely injured in Yanggang-do after having been attacked with an ax. Around the same time, a local security bureau chief was axed to death in Pyongyang. Finally, in January of this year, a security bureau chief and his entire family was found murdered in their home in central Pyongyang.

This series of murders are significant for two reasons. The more obvious first reason is that these are not simple cases of errant murders. Killing a security bureau official in North Korea is a crime that would damn the entire extended family to a gulag. The reports say that murders of low-level security bureau officers have so common that they are not even newsworthy in North Korea any more.

The second reason for the significance of these murders is that two of these murders happened in the middle of Pyongyang, the capital that is not only supposed to be safe, but also supposed to hold only the most loyal to the regime. What is more, the last murder in Pyongyang occurred during the mourning period for Kim Jong-Il, where North Koreans were admonished not even to breathe too heavily.

North Korean regime is slowly losing control, and the loss of control can only accelerate.

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  1. Whay do you think this could mean? A feud between rival factions within the security bureau?

    1. I can't help but think they wouldn't be using axes - that seems like a weapon used by peasants out of desperation.


  3. But will things collapse into civil war, will the regime survive because China does not want chaos on it's border? or will the regime simply fade and die like the one in Burma. There are so many unknowns.

    I imagine even the intelligence services do not know much about what is going on.

  4. It kind of reminds me of the European anarchists killing presidents and royalties...


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