Reports state 12 musicians, singers and dancers were executed in North Korea by firing squad on August 20th. One appears to be singer Hyon Song-wol, an ex-girlfriend of former leader Kim Jong-Il’s son, Kim Jong-Un, who now serves as the country’s supreme leader.
South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, citing sources from China, writes that Hyon and Unhasu Orchestra head Mun Kyong-Jin were arrested on August 17th for violating North Korean laws against pornography. It is said the two were then executed three days later, along with additional members of the Unhasu Orchestra, as well as the Wangjaesan Light Music Band and Moranbong Band, while their families looked on. The crimes reported for the musicians and dancers included “videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos” and having “Bibles in their possession”. Sources say that after the executions the families were also shipped to prison camps, following North Korea’s principle of guilt by association.
Hyon, known for such revolutionary songs as “Excellent Horse-Like Lady,” sang with the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, and is said to have known Kim Jong-Un since they were teenagers. They were reported to have been romantically involved in the early 2000s, but that a disapproving Kim Jong-Il forced the relationship to be broken up. Rumors also circulated that the two rekindled their romance following Kim Jong-Il’s death, but nothing was ever proven, and Kim Jong-Un remains married to Ri Sol-Ju.
Theories speculate these recent executions had nothing to do with pornography violations, but that it was more to do with political and factional conflicts, or even personal reasons, as Ri Sol-Ju was once a singer in the Unhasu Orchestra. Considering the stronghold North Korea maintains on its happenings within, it’s possible the truth behind this story may forever remain hidden.