Hyon Song-wol, long-term mistress of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was executed by firing squad along with 11 others, Reuters reported.
The group was “accused of filming and selling s** tapes of themselves” while some of them “allegedly possessed bibles, which is a political crime”.
The women were machined-gunned with their families forced to watch. Their families were then sent to prison camps because of North Korea’s policy of “guilt by association”.
Hyon Song-wol, a singer in North Korea’s famed Unhasu Orchestra, was killed along with 11 other members of the orchestra and the Wangjaesan Light Music Band, another popular state-run music group, according to a report in The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest daily newspaper.
The report, which cites an anonymous source in China, says the group was arrested on August 17. The clip reportedly found its way across the border to China. Their families were forced to watch the execution, which took place three days later, and were then sent to the country’s notorious prison camps, the source said.
Hyon Song-wol was a famous performer whose fame peaked around 2005 with the popular song Excellent Horse-Like Lady. She is said to have dated Kim Jong-un in the early 2000’s, after the young leader returned from boarding school in Switzerland. But she disappeared from the public eye around 2006, near the time Kim Jong-il began grooming his son to be Supreme Leader. Kim Jong-il reportedly disapproved of the relationship and ordered Hyon Somng-wol to leave the orchestra to keep her away from his son.
Shortly after the breakup, HyonSong-wol is said to have married an officer in the North Korean army and given birth to his son. But after Kim Jong-il’s death in late 2011, rumors spread among Pyongyang’s military elite that Kim Jong-un and Hyon Song-wol had rekindled their romance.
A young woman photographed next to Kim Jong-un at a concert in Pyongyang last summer was thought by South Korean intelligence officials to have been Hyon Song-wol. Experts speculated that the photos were circulated as a play to make Kim Jong-un seem more approachable. However, reports later said the woman was Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un’s current wife.
Ri Sol-ju was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before she married Kim Jong-un, but it’s unclear if she knew Hyon Song-wol personally. Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju have a baby daughter called Ju-ae together, as retired US basketball player Dennis Rodman confirmed.
Hyon Song-wol’s ties to Kim Jong-un raise the question whether it’s possible there is an ulterior motive for the execution. In North Korea, executions have been carried out as a way to eliminate perceived threats to the power of the Supreme Leader and his inner circle, but with such a dearth of facts in this case, it is hard to say anything for certain.