Tragic news coming from North Korea today. According to South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo, as many as 80 people were publicly executed in North Korea this month for minor offenses such as owning a Bible
The alleged “criminals” were put to death in seven cities across North Korea, averaging ten per city. The victims had their heads covered by white bags, were tied to stakes near a stadium, and shot by authorities repeatedly with machine guns. North Korean officials forced a crowd of over 10,000 people, including children, to witness the killings.
“I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were (so) riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterward,” the JoongAng Ilbo source said.
The massacre marks the first time during Kim Jong-un’s reign where public executions have taken place, a troubling sign for the future of the totalitarian country. Government officials suggest that the executions were meant to quell the recent spread of capitalism in various cities across North Korea.
North Korean law permits executions for conspiring to overthrow the government, treason and terrorism. But the country has also been known to order public executions for minor infractions such as religious activism, cellphone use and stealing food, in an effort to intimidate the public.