Young North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, has executed 70 officials since taking power in late 2011 in a "reign of terror" that far exceeds the bloodshed of his dictator father's early rule, South Korean officials announced today
The unnamed head of the Taedong River Terrapin Farm was put before a firing squad, the Daily NK reported, after a visit by the supreme leader that also exposed inadequacies in the farm’s cultivation of lobsters.
Young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has executed 70 officials since taking power in late 2011 in a "reign of terror" that far exceeds the bloodshed of his dictator father's early rule, South Korean officials annouced today.
Such "field guidance tours' in which Mr Kim appears at a state facility and gives brilliant, off-the-cuff advice to the admiring workforce, are common. Usually, the suggestions are constructive and the atmosphere celebratory, but in May the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a rare account of a visit to the terrapin farm during which Mr Kim was evidently deeply unhappy.
“Recalling that the party sent fries of freshwater lobsters to the farm so that it might breed them ... but that it failed to complete a breeding ground, he strongly criticised the shortcoming of its officials as a manifestation of incompetence, outmoded way of thinking and irresponsible work style,” KCNA reported.
Mr Kim was also appalled that the farm lacked a room devoted to the memory of his father, Kim Jong Il. “Employees who failed to bear deep in their minds his leadership exploits could hardly perform their role as masters in production,” he told the staff.
The agency added: “Noting that if officials work the way those of the farm do, it is impossible to realise the desire of Kim Jong Il and they may bring such grave consequences as impairing the prestige of the party.”
The story touches on two commodities that are in chronically short supply in North Korea: electricity and food. The terrapins are bred not as pets but for the table. KCNA refers to them as “tasty and nutritious terrapin widely known as precious tonic from olden times”.
According to the sources quoted by Daily NK, the death of the terrapins came about because of a failure of water pumps, caused by the failure of North Korea’s notoriously unreliable power supply. “Some parts of the farm weren’t able to receive water in a timely manner because of the lack of electricity,” it said, citing three separate sources reached by telephone in Pyongyang.
“That fact, in conjunction with food shortages, caused all the baby terrapins in the facilities to die. Some justifiably question how the official could have possibly kept operations sound without a sufficient power supply.”
One unnamed source told the website: “This is an incident wherein terrapins died because of electricity and then a person died because of the terrapins.”