A senior North Korean defector revealed the brutality of the Kim regime in his first public interview since he left almost three years ago.
Ri Jong Ho served his country as a faithful civil servant for over thirty years, but he became disillusioned by the regime. He became alarmed when Kim Jong Un had his uncle Jang Song Thaek executed and the atmosphere in North Korea turned “hostile.”
He told Voice of America in an interview published Tuesday that the regime purged thousands, executing hundreds with machine guns and other weaponry and sending others to political prison camps. “My family and I were in disbelief after seeing senior officials I knew being killed with anti-aircraft guns and my kids’ friends being locked up in prison camps,” he told reporters. “Of course, there had been executions and purges from time to time, but there were none like the ones that took place between late 2013 and early 2014. I never thought such atrocities and brutality could happen in the socialist system.”
“The regime killed hundreds of people, including officials, their friends, their families, and even children with heavy machine guns,” Ri explained.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has executed over 300 people since he took power in the wake of his father’s death, CNN reported in December last year. Some observers have called him the “world’s most dangerous man.”
Reports emerged in August last year and February that Kim Jong Un had ordered the execution of officials with an anti-aircraft gun. The crime of which one official was reportedly accused was dozing off during a meeting with the supreme leader.
Before his defection, Ri served in Office 39, a secretive branch of the North Korean government which handles illegal economic activities overseas for the generation of hard currency for the state, including Kim Jong Un’s personal slush fund. Appointed by Kim Jong Il, he was also chairman of the board for Korea Kumgang Group, an organization tied to the National Defense Commission.
For his loyalty and service, he was named a Hero of Labor in 2002. Ri was given a watch engraved with the name of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a color television, and a car.
Ri arrived in the U.S. in March of last year and has decided to break his silence. He is a believer in market-based economic reforms in North Korea for modernization and development.
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