The disappearance of one of Kim Jong-Un’s top aides – who was once considered the “second-most powerful man” in North Korea – has prompted speculation that he may have been executed.
General Hwang Pyong-so, who at one time held the most senior military position after the supreme leader himself, has not been seen since October. He is believed to have been expelled from the Workers’ Party amid allegations of bribery.
Hwang and his deputy, Kim Won-hong, who has been banished to prison camp, are believed to have been punished for “impure attitudes,” South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported.
According to the paper, a source said they were “punished for receiving kickbacks in the Politburo in exchange for promotions.”
“If Hwang was indeed kicked out of the Workers’ Party, it would practically mean the end of his political career, and possibly his life, though it is unknown whether or not he is still alive,” the newspaper reported.
Kim Jong Un visited the worshipped mountain Mount Paektu last week, a place he often visits before making major decisions such as ordering the execution of important officials.
Kim Jong Un apparently visited the mountain just before executing Jang Song-thaek, his uncle and vice chairman of the Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission, who was found guilty of “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of the party and state and the socialist system,” according to the paper.