Looks like Kim Jong-un was more upset about those clams, crabs, and coal mines than anyone thought: According to a report in pro-China paper Wen Wei Po, Kim executed his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, by feeding him alive to a pack of 120 hungry dogs.
The report said that Jang and five of his aides were stripped naked and tied to railings, at which point the dogs, who had been starved for three or five days, depending on the report, were unleashed. Kim and his older brother, Kim Jong Chol, personally supervised the hour-long massacre along with 300 other top North Korean officials. Jang and his aides were "completely eaten up," according to Wen Wei Po.
"It sounds credible, particularly given the horror stories coming out of North Korean labor camps where dogs are fed by political prisoners," said Dr. Leonid Petrov, of the Australia National University in Canberra.
"The system is built on fear and works only when both the elites and and the grass roots are scared and docile…Uncle Jang was hand picked to serve simultaneously as a scapegoat and a scarecraw for the regime." Petrov added.
While brutal, the punishment isn't that far out of line with Kim's other methods for execution, which, for Jang's lieutenants, reportedly involved being shot to death with large caliber anti-aircraft guns.
Jang, who was once considered the second most powerful man in North Korea, was executed in December after he was found guilty of "attempting to overthrow the state." Those charges, according to a report in the New York Times, stemmed from Jang's control of North Korea's clam, crab, and coal industries, which have become the country's most lucrative exports in recent years.
UPDATE 12:41 pm: It's worth pointing out, as Max Fisher at the Washington Post did, that there are several signs this is an unsubstantiated rumor. Other than Wen Wei Po, no media outlets in China or South Korea have picked up the story, which has been around for nearly a month. And Wen Wei Po ranks 19th out of the 21 papers in Hong Kong for credibility, according to a survey by Chinese University.
[Image via AP]