Feb. 10 (UPI) — North Korea may have ordered a sweeping massacre of about 1,000 people after the execution of Jang Song Thaek, a defector activist in South Korea said Friday.
Kang Chol-hwan, president of the North Korea Strategy Center, said in addition to the mass slaughter a total of 20,000 people were purged under Kim Jong Un, South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported.
“In connection to the case of Jang Song Thaek, 415 cadres in the Korean Workers’ Party, more than 300 people in affiliated organizations, and 200 officers in the state security department were shot to death,” Kang said.
The North Korea Strategy Center is a non-profit organization that seeks to aid defectors with development programs and international support networks.
There have been previous reports in South Korea media that Jang’s death sentence in 2013 triggered the executions of other senior officials, including Ri Yong Ha, the first deputy leader of the Korean Workers’ Party, and Jang Su Gil, the party’s deputy leader.
But Kang’s assertions on Friday mark the first time an analyst has said the state executed 1,000 people in the case of Jang, who was Kim’s uncle-in-law.
Jang, who was vice chairman of North Korea’s National Defense Commission, was charged with treason and plotting to overthrow the state.
According to Kang, among the people executed were family members of the partisans of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.
Other relatives were purged or sent to prison camps because of Jang, the activist said.
Kang said his information was drawn from the testimonies of six North Koreans who recently escaped the country, including statements from former diplomat Thae Yong-ho.
The activist, who grew up in a North Korea prison camp and later wrote a memoir of his experiences, said separate testimonies confirm massacres were carried out under state supervision and that families were sent to camps.
NKSC is planning to bring the Jang Song Thaek case before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, South Korean news service Newsis reported.