Gruesome and shocking details have emerged on how exactly Jang Song-theak, the uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was killed last month. Jang, who was reportedly executed for treason, was stripped naked and thrown into a cage with 120 wild dogs, to be eaten alive, a Chinese newspaper has reported.
The 67-year-old man, who was till then considered the second most powerful person in North Korea, was allegedly thrown into the cage, along with his aides, where dogs - starving for three days - tore them apart and devoured them till the sinews and bones, reported Wen Wei Po.
Kim, the young dictator of the country, had accused his uncle of outrageous crimes like womanizing, drugs, conspiring to overthrow the regime and more. Local media have denounced the man with outrageous terms like "despicable human scum" and "worst than a dog".
Executions in North Korea are usually carried out by a firing squad. However, the report said that Jang was fed to hungry hounds in a gruesome one-hour ordeal that was spearheaded and supervised by the supreme leader, along with 300 senior officials.
North Korean state-run KCNA news agency, which announced Jang's execution on 12 December, did not specify how Jang was killed.
Sunday Morning Herald has, however, reported that the news is baseless. The story was reported first by a minor Hong Kong news outlet on 12 December and was picked up by a Singaporean newspaper on 24 December. On Thursday, the news was sweeping through every major newspaper and news organization.
The fact that the story came from a small Hong Kong newspaper, which reports without citing any source, coupled with the fact that none of the other Chinese media have touched the story, could mean that the sensational tale is just a publicity stunt. Hong Kong media, moreover, are known for their sensational and tabloid-style news.
Nevertheless, considering the aggressive history of the reclusive North Korean regime, it cannot be entirely ruled out that such a thing could not have been done.
Kim, who has been the most controversial national leader of modern times, had said in his New Year speech: "Our party's timely, accurate decision to purge the anti-party, anti-revolutionary elements helped greatly cement solidarity within our party," adding a "factionalist filth" had been eliminated.