North Korea Executes 80 for Movies, Bibles, Report Says

Source: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Well, this is no good: Kim Jong-un’s North Korean regime has conducted its first known mass public executions. According to South Korean reports, the country executed 80 people on Nov. 3 in front of as many as 10,000 people. What were the crimes that earned these people the death penalty? Reports say that some of these criminal masterminds possessed smuggled bibles or — worse!  — South Korean movies. (Please, no one tell him that North Koreans are also believed to secretly watch Desperate Housewives.)

“I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were (so) riddled by machine-gun fire that they were hard to identify afterward,” said the anonymous source of the JoongAng Ilbo paper, who noted that the eight people executed in a stadium in Wonsan had their heads covered with white bags. 

“As the news that people were brutally killed in public executions spread in the countryside, the people have been spreading rumors that say that Kim Jong-un has started a terror campaign in response to the [first lady] Ri Sol-ju’s pornography scandal.”

Of course, the South Korean paper cited only one, anonymous source — something that should always give pause. But when dealing with North Korea, its highly-secretive, volatile northern neighbor, that’s often all we can get: If a source’s name is used, he or she may end up the regime’s next victim. Still, granting a little more credence to the claim, a North Korean defector group reportedly heard similar rumors about the execution.

These aren’t the first reported executions for North Korea’s new leader. Jong-un allegedly killed a former girlfriend, Hyon Song-wol, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra alongside the current first lady, on Aug. 20. The singer allegedly filmed herself having sex with other North Korean artists, which earned her death by firing squad. And, of course, there was the whole studying-the-Third-Reich thing, where Jong-un lifted the ban on Mein Kampf and told the police to model themselves after the Gestapo. A real charmer on all fronts.

But this incident isn’t likely to provoke much of an outcry from the international community, which is preoccupied with keeping North Korea from obtaining and utilizing nuclear weapons. North Korea is a dilemma and a conundrum, and condemnations or threats over internal conflicts may just further aggravate the isolated nation. It’s also hard to justify much outcry over 80 deaths, when many times more are starving in the country right now. In August, things got so bad that the country begged Mongolia to send food, and some people even resorted to cannibalism.

Of course, we can always just send over Bill Richardson, and cross our fingers. 

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