World

N.Korea executes defence chief with anti-aircraft gun

In North Korea, apparently there's no such thing as overkill. 

Its leader Kim Jong-Un had defence minister Hyon Yong-Chol killed last month for insubordination and falling asleep during a formal military rally, South Korean intelligence said on Wednesday (May 13).

The method of execution? Death by anti-aircraft fire.

It is believed a ZPU-4, a four-barrel heavy machine gun from the Cold War era, was used to carry out Mr Kim's order.


A file photo of a ZPU-4. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

It is not possible to independently verify the spy agency's claims. 

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) has a patchy record with its intelligence reports on North Korea, which have sometimes missed key events or reported others later revealed to be false.

But if it is true, that's a lot of firepower targeted at one man.

The ZPU-4 uses 14.5mm calibre bullets. (Measurement refers to the diameter of the bullet.)


A 14.5 mm calibre bullet (second from right). PHOTO: YOUTUBE/NIMA

NIS told lawmakers that the 66-year-old was executed in front of hundreds of witnesses at a military academy in northern Pyongyang.

Based on a past report from US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, it is believed he was just 30m from the weapons, which have a range of up to 8,000m.

Mr Hyon had visited Russia just last month – partly to pave the way for Mr Kim’s scheduled trip to Moscow in May.

He was arrested later that month and executed three days later without legal proceedings, the NIS said.

Mr Kim cancelled his trip in May, citing "internal North Korea issues".

The spy agency said last month that Mr Kim has executed 15 senior officials this year as punishment for challenging his authority.

In all, around 70 officials have been executed since Mr Kim took over power following the death of his father, Kim Jong II, in 2011, Yonhap news agency cited the NIS as saying. Last year, reports emerged that Mr Kim had executed one of his uncles by throwing him to a pack of dogs, although that was later found to be based on a satirical blog.

Mr Kim, who is in his early 30s, has changed his armed forces chief four times so fa.

In comparison, his father replaced his chief just three times during his almost two-decade long rule.

Sources: AFP, Reuters

North KoreaKim Jong UnUncategorisedSouth KoreaSpyGuns