Kim Jong Un's former lover, along with about a dozen other well-known North Korean performers, have been executed by a machine gun firing squad after being accused of violating pornography laws, a South Korean publication reports.
Singer Hyon Song Wol, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, along with orchestra leader Mun Kyong Jin and the others were arrested on Aug. 17 for violating North Korean laws against pornography and were executed in public three days later, according to reports from South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper
They were all accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos, including to buyers in China. One source said some of the executed musicians also had Bibles in their possession, and were treated as political dissidents.
Other members of North Korea's most famous pop groups and their immediate families were forced to watch the executions and then were ordered to prison camps as victims of the regime's assumption of guilt by association policy, the newspaper reported.
Kim met Hyon about 10 years ago before either was married, but his father, Kim Jong Il did not approve of the union and ordered him to break up with her. She went on to marry a soldier and reportedly had a baby. However, there have been rumors for some time that the couple was continuing an affair.
His wife, Ri Sol Ju was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before they married, and Chinese reports say that it is not clear if she was involved in ordering the executions.
Hyon's orchestra had a string of patriotic hits in North Korea with titles like "Footsteps of Soldiers," "She is a Discharged Soldier," and "I Love Pyongyang," and her biggest hit was "Excellent Horse-Like Lady," reports London's Daily Telegraph
Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University and an authority on North Korea, told The Telegraph that he believes the singer and her bandmates were killed for political reasons.
"If these people had only made pornographic videos, then it is simply not believable that their punishment was execution," he said. "They could have been made to disappear into the prison system there instead. There is a political reason behind this, or, as Kim's wife once belonged to the same group, it is possible that these executions are more about Kim's wife."
The singer's execution wasn't the first time Kim hit out at someone who had been close to him. He purged his own stepmother, Kim Ok, from a post as a senior official in the Workers' Party Finance and Accounting Department, reports the Telegraph.
Another close associate, Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was killed with a mortar round in October 2012 for drinking during the official mourning period after Kim Jong-il's death.
Reports said Kim Jong Un ordered the minister's executioners to leave "no trace of him behind, down to his hair," and Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and "obliterated."
"Kim Jong Un has been viciously eliminating anyone who he deems a challenge to his authority," a source told The Chosun Ilbo. "He is fixated on consolidating his leadership."
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