Kim Jong Un probably didn’t have his uncle fed to dogs. The story that claims Jang Song Thaek had been executed by the North Korean leader by stripping him naked and feeding him to over a hundred of dogs was started by a satirical news site, and which was picked up by international media as a legitimate news.
A Hong Kong-based newspaper first reported the story in December after South Korean intelligence revealed that Kim had ordered the execution of his uncle, the husband of his father’s sister.
It wasn’t revealed, however, how Jang had been killed, prompting the media to speculate that it was a death by firing squad.
But when the HK newspaper Wen Wei Po reported that Jang and five of his aides were killed by 120 dogs, the media picked up the story a few weeks later. It should be noted that Wen Wei Po failed to include a source in its article.
Also, the paper also isn’t exactly known for its accuracy. In fact, it has a reputation for being an unreliable news outlet.
South Korea did not touch the dog story, which is probably the biggest clue that it never happened at all.
“This story has hardly been picked up on by Korean media which is one reason to be suspicious,” Chad O’Carrooll, editor of the news site NKNEws.org, told the Washington Post, adding that South Korean’s more credible media outlets continue to maintain that Jang was killed through a firing squad.
“He was in a military tribunal so it seems logical he would be executed by firing squad.”
Mr O’Carroll isn’t ruling out the death by dog story, though. Although it is an unlikely scenario, it’s not a totally ridiculous assumption.
“While this one definitely feels exaggerated, who knows? With North Korea’s KCNA publishing films showing the destruction of effigies of [former South Korean President] Lee Myung-bak by hungry dogs last year, and of course publishing several cartoons depicting the gruesome death of the same president, at least parts of the story could be within the realm of true,” Mr O’Carroll continued.
“Don’t forget the North Koreans even hosted competitions last year to think up the most gruesome way to kill ‘Traitor’ [Lee Myung-bak]; the prize? The winner could carry out that particular death sentence!”
Jang, once Kim’s mentor and his second-in-command, was executed in December after he was accused of attempting to overthrow the government. Kim has allegedly spared his aunt, Jang’s wife and the only sister of his late father, Kim Jong Il.