North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is famous in Western media for executing people that fall out of his favor – though some seem to have found the knack of returning from the dead.
Reports regularly surface on Kim’s latest means of execution, ranging from the relatively mundane firing squad to the theatrical, or even cartoonish – such as feeding foes to packs of starving dogs or roasting them with flame-throwers.
North Korean pop star Hyon Song-wol was spotted alive and well on TV in 2014, despite reportedly being executed by firing squad in a purge of singers, musicians and dancers, a year before.
The performer was allegedly killed along with 11 other people, including members of her group, the Moranbong Band, the head of Unhasu Orchestra, and several dancers from the Wangjaesan Light Music Band.
The 12 victims had allegedly been accused of, among other offenses, recording themselves having sex and selling the footage. Hyon Song-wol, with whom Kim was reportedly romantically entwined, most recently publicly resurfaced on Saturday to inspect Olympic venues in South Korea ahead of the Winter Games.
Back in 2016, N. Korean army chief Ri Yong Gil was reportedly executed for “factionalism, misuse of authority, and corruption.” As with a lot of information emanating from the isolated country, this turned out to false.
South Korean intelligence officials seemed to take his removal as head of the army as confirmation of his execution. The only problem was that a couple of months later Ri Yong Gil apparently returned from the dead, with an array of new senior-level positions, when he attended the Workers’ Party Congress in May that year.