Did Kim Jong-un really execute his own uncle by feeding him to starving dogs?

Kim Jong-un is known for his ruthlessness, but this story is truly crazy. Did it really happen?

Kim Jong-un execute uncle Jang Song-thaek dogs
© Bloomberg / GETTYIMAGES
Kim Jong-un execute uncle Jang Song-thaek dogs

TW: mentions of murder

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Kim Jong-un has done some very strange things in his time. He’s spent £2.7M on underwear for his Pleasure Squad, he’s banned leather coats in North Korea, and he might even have a TikTok account these days. However, he is not just a funny character on the international stage of leaders; he is a vicious despot who will not tolerate anything other than absolute obedience and loyalty.

His sister, Kim Yo-jong, has been dubbed the 'Most Dangerous Woman in the World', but Kim himself is a force to be reckoned with. Back in 2014, rumours circulated about another member of the Kim family. It was thought that Kim Jong-un had executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek by stripping him naked and feeding him to dogs. But did that really happen? Let’s get into it.

Kim Jong-un reportedly executed his uncle

Back in January 2014, a terrifying story started to leak into the Western press. It was reported that Kim Jong-un had his 67-year-old uncle stripped naked and placed in a cage with 5 of his aides. Also in the cage were 120 dogs who had been starved for 3 days. The story went that the famished animals tore the men apart and North Korea officials watched.

All of this reportedly came as a punishment for treason for his uncle, who was formerly his second in command. The story seems wild, but is it too wild to be true?

Is this story true?

The story initially came from a Hong Kong newspaper called Wen Wei Po, which strangely made these claims without citing any sources or evidence. However, it was picked up by several western publications including NBC News, the Daily Mail, and the London Evening Standard.

However, the story was not circulated by other Chinese outlets or in South Korea, which puts its credibility even further into question. Kim did dismiss his uncle very publicly: North Korea’sofficial news agency called Jang ‘an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element’ and ‘despicable human scum’ when they announced he would be executed.

Yet, according to The Guardian, analysts agree that he was probably killed in a less dramatic but equally concrete fashion: by firing squad. Indeed, after the event, the tale was found to bear a striking resemblance to a China-based satirist’s social media post. The post, made by Pyongyang Choi Seongho, predated the execution and depicted the exact execution scene described earlier in this article.

Although it doesn’t seem like a massive leap for the North Korean despot to kill a member of his own family in such a gruesome way, it would seem that this particular story is probably - and hopefully - not true.

Read more:

Death by piranha: Did Kim Jong-un really execute a general with these deadly fish?

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Sources used:

The Guardian: Story about Kim Jong-un's uncle being fed to dogs originated with satirist

The Washington Post: No, Kim Jong Un probably didn’t feed his uncle to 120 hungry dogs

Chanel 4: Kim Jong-un ‘watched as uncle killed by dogs’

Death by piranha: Did Kim Jong-un really execute a general with these deadly fish? Death by piranha: Did Kim Jong-un really execute a general with these deadly fish?