He had the defense minister executed for falling asleep at a military event?
Kim Jong-un continued his reign of purges, having Minister of Defense Hyon Yong-chol executed for treason
and showing disrespect to the North Korean leader by falling asleep at a military event.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service reported that Hyon was executed at the end of April by a firing squad using anti-aircraft artillery
as hundreds of witnesses watched. Hyon’s execution follows reports that Kim Jong-un had 15 senior officials executed earlier this year for challenging his authority.
Vice Marshal Hyon served as chief of the General Staff from July 2012 to May 2013, then was removed from office and demoted, only to resurface as minister of defense in June 2014. At the time of his death, he was also a candidate member of the Korean Workers’ Party Political Bureau and a member of the Party Central Committee.
During his three years in power, Kim Jong-un has purged hundreds, perhaps thousands of officials. Even the senior-most level of government is not safe from Kim’s wrath. He had his uncle Jang Song-taek, purportedly the “second most powerful man in North Korea,” executed in December 2013.
Kim has replaced the minister of defense and chief of the general staff five times each.