North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has had his uncle’s entire family eradicated, according to a new report. The once powerful Jang Song-thaek was executed in December for apparently attempting to overthrow his nephew.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that all direct relatives of Jang, including children, were also executed after Kim ordered his uncle’s demise.
“Extensive executions have been carried out for relatives of Jang Song-thaek,” a source told the news agency on condition of anonymity. “All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including children.”
The killed family members included Jang’s sister, Jang Kye-sun; her husband, Jon Young-jin, who was also the Ambassador to Cuba; Jang’s nephew, Jang Yong-chol, who was the Ambassador to Malaysia; and his two sons. The ambassadors were recalled from their posts abroad to Pyongyang before being killed.
The sons, daughters, and even grandchildren of Jang’s two brothers were also all executed in early December.
“Some relatives were shot to death by pistol in front of other people if they resisted while being dragged out of their apartment homes,” another insider told the paper.
There were also relatives who were spared. Relatives by marriage, including the wife of the Malaysian ambassador, were said to be among those who were allowed to live and instead have been sent to remote villages with their families.
North Korea has been known to practice a culture of “guilt by association,” in which relatives of those convicted with crimes also face severe punishment, even including death.
“The executions of Jang’s relatives mean that no traces of him should be left,” the source continued. “The purge of the Jang Song-thaek people is under way on an extensive scale from relatives and low-level officials.”
Jang, Kim’s former mentor and the husband of his biological aunt, was executed along with other high-ranking officials in the country in December. They were accused of a number of crimes, including treason and abusing position of power.
A previous report claimed that Jang’s wife, Kim Kyong-hui, who was the sister of the late Kim Jong Il, was spared. She appeared to have even retained her position as secretary to the Worker’s Party Central Committee.
Earlier in January, it was claimed that Jang was executed by being fed to hungry dogs, but it was later debunked as an erroneous account. The story was started by a satirical news site, and was later picked up by international media.