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Kim Jong-un fed uncle to dogs, killed aide by throwing him into piranha-filled tank during brutal regime, claims report

In a bid to consolidate power, the North Korean dictator spared no one, not even his family members
UPDATED APR 28, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Even as rumors about Kim Jong-un's ill health and apparent death continue to circulate, it would do the world good to remember that the North Korean dictator's legacy is one of brutal repression and unimaginable cruelty.

Having taken the reins of the hermit nation following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011, Kim stopped at nothing to ensure he consolidated his power. This included ordering assassinations of those he saw as a threat to his rule, even members of his family.

While Pyongyang's secrecy and isolation from the rest of the world make it hard to verify reports from the country, his battle against dissenters started almost immediately after his father's funeral.

Vice Minister of the North Korean Army, Kim Chol, was executed in 2012 for "drinking and carousing" during a period of mourning. He was "exploded by mortar bombardment."

Then, after learning that one of his generals was planning a coup, Kim, inspired by the 1977 James Bond movie 'The Spy Who Loved Me,' ordered that he be thrown into a "piranha-filled fish tank" after having his arms and torso cut open.

He then turned his sights to his own uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

Jang's fall from grace is believed to have started in January 2013, when he was first excluded from high-level meetings. Once Kim's most trusted advisors, it was all but confirmed that he was dispensable when another was chosen to attend a special meeting in China in his place.

He went on to have a row with his nephew over the control of the country's fisheries and is said to have tried to seize power, following which he was kicked out of the Workers' Party of North Korea and executed as "a traitor for all ages."

He was accused of committing "anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts," harboring "politically-motivated ambition," weakening "the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies" and obstructing "the nation's economic affairs."

Kim found a creative way to dispose of his uncle, too — he allegedly stripped him naked and locked him in a cage with 120 starving dogs.

He didn't stop there. According to reports, he then attempted to completely destroy all traces of Jang's existence through "extensive executions" of his family, including the children and grandchildren of all close relatives. While his aunt Kim Kyong-hui survived the fallout, she was rumored to have either committed suicide or passed away from illness since her husband's death.

His uncle is not even the only family member to have incurred his wrath. Kim is believed to have been involved in the assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, who was fatally poisoned in a Malaysian airport. Kim Jong-nam was said to have been the heir apparent to their father Kim Jong-il before he fell out of favor a few years before the dictator's death and fled the country.

But Kim did not spare him even then. On February 13, 2017, he was killed by two women who smeared the nerve agent VX on his face as he was walking through Terminal 2 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

While reports are now indicating that the dictator is "alive and well," there will no doubt be many in the country and outside hoping otherwise.