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Kim Jong-un and His Appetite for Elaborate Executions

He has reportedly executed 340 people in the past five years for 'various offences'.

Kim Jong-un and His Appetite for Elaborate Executions
Randall Park as Kim Jong-un in 'The Interview'

KLIA 2 was the scene of a dramatic assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. 

The news has circulated around the world and the suspects are two female spies who allegedly splashed Kim Jong-nam with poisonous liquid before fleeing th scene via taxi. Kim Jong-nam may have entered Malaysia using a fake name and there are no reports of why he entered the country. 

At the centre of this assassination is North Korea's Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un who has a history of executing dissenters to his regime. The Sun reported in December 2016 that Kim has executed 340 people in the five years for crimes against his regime. 

Following in his father's footsteps 

In the book Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea, Jang Jin-Sung, a former United Front Department officer and poet laureate wrote:
The most troubling aspect for me at the time was Kim Jong-il’s merciless rule by purging, which did not spare members of his own family. As soon as Kim Jong-il had consolidated his power, he used the "side branch" notion to designate members of his family who were like side branches of a tree that must be pruned for the tree to grow tall and strong. To begin with, his uncle Kim Yong-ju and stepmother Kim Sung-ae were placed under house arrest; and in 1981, he ordered that the children of Kim Il-sung’s supporters should not to be accepted into the Central Party. This became fixed as an internal regulation in the OGD [Organization and Guidance Department]. Kim Il-sung’s associates began to disappear one by one.
Much like his father, Kim Jong-un wasted no time 'clearing' his Ministers, purging five Defense Ministers five times since he took power. In contrast to his father who changed Defence Ministers only three times in his 17 years of reign. In May 2015, his Defence Minister Hyon Yong Chol was killed with an anti-aircraft gun at a military school in Pyongyang, in front of Hyon's family members. Unlike his father who merely put his uncle under house arrest, Kim Jong-un took it a step further and executed his uncle, Jang Sung-taek. Members of Jang's family were also killed, to completely destroy all traces of Jang's existence – including children and grandchildren of all close relatives. Deputy Public Security Minister O Sang-hon – a known ally of the deceased Jang – was later burned to death.

340 people killed in five years

L: Kim's uncle escorted to be executed. R:Defence Minister Hyon who was also executed.
These revelations were made by The Institute for National Security Strategy – a South Korean think tank – which also details how he performs executions to tighten his grip of power. Reasons for executions have ranged from 'bad attitude', treachery, and for slouching in a meeting. The vice premier in charge of education, Kim Yong-jin was executed by firing squad for slouching. A vice minister of the army was executed with a mortar round for allegedly drinking and carousing during the official mourning period after Kim Jong-il's death in December 2011.  The Sun reports that nearly half of those killed were senior officials in his own government, military and the ruling Korean Worker's Party. 

Why Kim Jong-nam? And why now?

Kim Jong-il with Jong-nam in a family portrait.
Jong-nam was born to a mistress of the late Kim Jong-il and was earmarked to take over from his father as leader. He entered our borders on a passport that identified him as Kim Chol. Jong-nam was a supporter of reform for North Korea and was opposed to his father's ways. No motive was given and news coming out of reclusive North Korea is suspect at best.