NK ambassador says Jang Song-thaek was executed for misusing public funds

Posted on : 2014-02-03 15:52 KST Modified on : 2014-02-03 15:52 KST
Hyun Hak-bong says Jang wasn’t eaten by hungry dogs, and doesn’t confirm or deny reports that Jang’s family was also punished

By Ha Eo-young, staff reporter

Hyun Hak-bong, North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, told the UK’s Sky News that Jang Song-thaek, former head of the administrative division of the Korean Workers’ Party, was executed for misappropriation of public funds.

When the subject of Jang came up in an interview on Jan. 30, Hyun said that Jang was sentenced to death in the court according to the law and that he was shot to death. This is the first time that a North Korean official has explained on the record why and how Jang was executed. Asked about the crimes Jang was charged with, Hyun said that he had committed the acts in question, anti-state acts, and that he had abused his authority and driven the North Korean economy into the ground. Hyun said that among Jang’s crimes was the misuse of 4.6 million euros in 2009.

In 2009, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il was still alive. This implies that after Kim Jong-un took power, he suddenly took issue with something that had happened four years earlier.

In regard to this, Hyun said that the party had forgiven Jang’s behavior on several occasions in the past, but that this time his actions went “beyond the red line,” stressing that execution had been the only option.

Addressing reports that Jang’s family and relatives had been killed as well, Hyun called these fabricated reports and dismissed them as “political propaganda by our enemies.” However, when the interviewer asked Hyun if Jang’s family was still alive, the ambassador avoided a definitive response. “I know he was punished but if his family were punished or not, I don’t know,” Hyun said.

In regard to the release of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary currently being held in North Korea on charges of anti-state acts, Hyun said that Bae will have to complete his sentence of 15 years of hard labor.

Criminals sometimes receive pardons, but it was not likely that Bae would receive one, Hyun said.


Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]


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