North Korea executed five communist party officials after they spoke out against the regime’s economic policies, it has been reported.
All five Economic Ministry workers were shot by firing squad on July 30 after details of their conversations emerged at a dinner party and were reported back to their bosses, according to DailyNK.
The men had openly discussed the need for industrial reform in the militarised nation state which produces few consumer goods for its impoverished citizens.
The government officials had also apparently discussed the need for North Korea to seek foreign cooperation to help overcome devastating trade sanctions.
They also expressed fears that the stagnant economy would get even worse if improvements were not made quickly.
Their discussions soon reached the heads of the Economic Ministry who reported their actions to the authorities prompting an internal investigation.
The unsuspecting men, who were considered highly competent officials within the ministry, were summoned to a meeting where they were arrested by the secret police and forced to confess to undermining the regieme.
In addition, it is said their families were transferred to a political prison camp (station 15) in Yodeok, Hamgyeongnam-do – one of the nation’s most notorious sites for political dissidents.
The executions have concerned Communist Party officials who fear a return to the purges which hit the country following former the death of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il in 2011.
Executions remain common in the highly-secretive state.
This week it was reported that Kim Jong-un displayed his uncle’s head after executing the powerful general and other family members by firing squad.
US President Donald Trump boasted to veteran journalist Bob Woodward the North Korean despot “tells me everything” during a series of interviews.
In the Washington Post associate editor’s new book Rage – compiled following a series of recorded interviews as well as access to private correspondence – Trump claimed Kim described how he murdered his uncle in a “graphic account”.
General Jang Song-thaek was subjected to a firing squad on his dictator nephew’s orders, while earlier reports suggested his body was then stripped naked and fed to dogs.
Kim Jong-un then reportedly put his uncle’s head on display for others to see.
The general’s aides were then executed using anti-aircraft guns, while his family is also understood to have been killed under Kim’s orders.
Jang had briefly taken temporary charge of North Korea after Kim’s father Kim Jong-il fell ill before dying in 2011.
During his phone calls with Woodward, some of which have been released prior to the book going on sale next week, Trump had high praise for the controversial leader.