NK sacks head of spy chief for graft

Global Times - Weekend - - WORLD -

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has sacked his spy chief for abuse of power and ex­e­cuted sev­eral of­fi­cials of the state se­cu­rity agency, South Korea’s Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry said Fri­day.

Min­is­ter of State Se­cu­rity Kim Won-hong was dis­missed in mid-Jan­uary af­ter the agency came un­der scru­tiny for power abuse and cor­rup­tion, the South Korean min­istry’s spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said.

A Uni­fi­ca­tion Min­istry of­fi­cial, who asked not to be named, said that North Korea also ex­e­cuted an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of the agency’s of­fi­cials.

The sud­den dis­missal of a top of­fi­cial may add to in­sta­bil­ity in the North by in­creas­ing anx­i­ety among elites, he added.

Kim Won-hong had sur­vived re­peated purges since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011 which have seen four of the North’s five high­es­trank­ing mil­i­tary of­fi­cers purged.

The spy agency chief, in post since 2012, played a key role in ar­rest­ing and ex­e­cut­ing Kim Jong-un’s un­cle Jang Song-thaek, once known as the No.2 power holder, in 2013 on charges of trea­son.

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