North Korea orders 33 executed who had contact with Christian missionary


By Dan Wooding

Photo: Kim Jung-wook at press conference



According to Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, 33 North Koreans face execution after being charged with attempting to overthrow the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un.

“The Koreans have landed themselves in hot water after it emerged they had worked with South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook and received money to set up 500 underground churches. It is understood they will be put to death in a cell at the State Security Department,” wrote Mark Shapland in a story for the paper.

“Experts believe the North Koreans are being punished more harshly than usual as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un combats a wave of dissatisfaction at the regime’s isolationist ‘Juche*’ doctrine.”

Shapland said that Missionary Kim Jung-wook was arrested and jailed last year for allegedly trying to establish underground churches. Last week he held a press conference at which he apologized for committing “anti-state” crimes and appealed for his release from North Korean custody. He told reporters that he was arrested in early October after entering the North from China and trying to make his way to Pyongyang with Bibles, Christian instructional materials and movies.

Kim Jung-wook said he had received assistance from South Korea’s intelligence agency. “I was thinking of turning North Korea into a religious country, and destroying its present government and political system,” he said at the press conference. “I received money from the intelligence services and followed instructions from them, and arranged North Koreans to act as their spies. And I also set up an underground church in China, in Dandong, and got the members to talk and write, for me to collect details about the reality of life in North Korea, and I provided this to the intelligence services.”

Shapland went on to say that a South Korean intelligence source in China took issue with Kim’s account, saying that the missionary did not enter North Korea voluntarily, but was kidnapped by agents of the Pyongyang government in China.

“During Kim Jung-wook’s press conference, North Korean officials also showed video of North Koreans who confessed to coming into contact with the missionary,” he said.

“The North Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported that they said that Kim told them to build a church on the site where a massive statue of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, stands in Pyongyang whenever the regime falls.”

“North Korea continues to hold Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who was detained while leading a group on a tour of North Korea in 2012 and later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Bae was moved to a hospital last summer in poor health, but said at the news conference that he was being transferred back to prison.

“Kim Jong Un is fast gaining a reputation for brutality and destroying those closest to him.” The journalist stated that there have been reports that North Korea’s number two leader Choe Ryong Hae has disappeared and there are fears that he is the latest to be purged.

“Choe is said to have displeased the leader by taking management of several state-owned industries. It is understood that Choe is in jail and being interrogated,” he added.

“Choe held several top positions in the North Korean leadership after Kim ordered the high-profile execution of Jang Song Thaek, the previous incumbent and Kim’s uncle and mentor.”

Kim’s uncle Jang, 67, was executed in December after being accused of plotting to overthrow the communist regime. Jang was married to Kim Kyong Hui, Kim’s aunt and former leader Kim Jong-Il’s sister. He was killed by firing squad.

“As well as his uncle, other high-ranking members of the military have been purged by Kim Jong-Un, including three defense ministers and three chiefs of the army’s general staff,” stated Shapland. “Kim Chol, the vice minister of the army, was reportedly put to death in October 2012 by soldiers firing mortar rounds at him.”

He concluded by saying, “There are said to have been between 40 to 80 public mass executions in North Korea in 2013.” Please fervently pray for the Christians in North Korea, the release of Christian prisoners like Kenneth Bae and Kim Jung-wook, as well as freedom and salvation for all people in North Korea.–ASSIST News

* According to Wikipedia, Juche (or the Juche Idea) is a political thesis formed by the former North Korean leader Kim Il-sung which states that the Korean masses are the masters of the country’s development. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Kim and other party theorists such as Hwang Jang-yop elaborated the Juche Idea into a set of principles that the government uses to justify its policy decisions. Among these are a strong military posture and reliance on Korean national resources. Juche has been accused of being a form of political religion despite North Korea’s formal commitment to state atheism.