Thursday 29 August 2013
By Julian Ryall, T okyo
10:09AM BST 29 Aug 2013
Hyon Song-wol, a singer, rumoured to be a former lover of the North
Korean leader, is said to have been arrested on Aug 17 with 11 others
for violating laws against pornography.
Hyon Song-wol starred in the video for her 2005 hit 'A Girl In The Saddle Of A Steed'
The reports in South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper indicate that Hyon,
a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on
August 17 for violating domestic laws on pornography.
All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of
North Korea's most famous pop groups and their immediate families
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In North Korea
Kim Jong-un: real or
Kim Jong-un's ex-lover 'executed by firing squad'
Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers
who were executed by firing squad nine days ago, according to South Korean reports.
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Hyon Song-w ol, a singer and rumoured to be a former lover of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
forced to watch. The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, victims
of the regime's assumption of guilt by association, the reports stated.
“They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the
Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as
well as the families of the victims looked on,” said a Chinese source
reported in the newspaper.
North and South agree for reunions of families split by Korean War 23 Aug
Hyon's band was responsible for a string of patriotic hits in North Korea,
including "Footsteps of Soldiers," "I Love Pyongyang," "She is a
Discharged Soldier" and "We are Troops of the Party." Her popularity
reportedly peaked in 2005 with the song "Excellent Horse-Like Lady."
The 12 who were executed were singers, musicians or dancers with the
Hyon's band,, the Unhasu Orchestra or the Wanghaesan Light Music
Band and were accused of making videos of themselves performing sex
acts and then selling the recordings.
The reports stated that both groups have been disbanded as a result of
Some of the musicians were also found to have bibles when they were
detained and all were treated as political dissidents.
Kim Jong-un, who became leader of North Korea after the sudden death
of his father in December 2011, is believed to have met Hyon about 10
years ago and struck up a relationship.
His father, Kim Jong-il, did not approve of the relationship and ordered
him to break it off. Hyon subsequently married an officer in the North
Korean military and reportedly had a baby, although there are
suggestions that Hyon continued to see Kim after her marriage.
Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before
marriage and one theory is that Ri objected to the continuing high profile
of her husband's former girlfriend.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with his wife Ri Sol-ju (AP)
North Korea's Communist dictator reportedly purged his own step-
mother, Kim Ok, from her post as a senior official in the Workers' Party
Finance and Accounting Department as he sought to tighten his grip on
power within the country.
She was luckier than Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, who was
executed with a mortar round in October 2012.
Kim Chol was reportedly executed for drinking and carousing during the
official mourning period after Kim Jong-il's death.
On the explicit orders of Kim Jong-un to leave "no trace of him behind,
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down to his hair," according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced
to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and
The Moranbong band performing in Pyongyang in July 2012 (AP)
An expert on North Korean affairs believes the singer was executed for
"If these people had only made pornographic videos, then it is simply not
believable that their punishment was execution," Toshimitsu Shigemura,
a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University and an authority on North
Korean affairs, told The Daily Telegraph.
"They could have been made to disappear into the prison system there
"There is a political reason behind this," he said, suggesting that the
groups may have been leaning towards a rival faction in Pyongyang's
shadowy political world.
"Or, as Kim's wife once belonged to the same group, it is possible that
these executions are more about Kim's wife," Professor Shigemura
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