March 2nd, 2008 Headsman
On this date in 2005, at an outdoor trial near Yuson, North Korea, Han Bok-nam was sentenced to death for trafficking across the nearby Chinese border and immediately executed by firing squad.
Hard information on death sentences from the opaque People’s Republic is notoriously rare on the ground. This day’s execution, and two in a nearby location the previous day, became known thanks to an illicit video smuggled out of the country in the following weeks — a gutsy operation that might well have exposed its perpetrators to a death sentence of their own had they been detected.
The 12-minute film — showing bicycle-riding citizens summoned to attend the grisly spectacle for maximum salutary effect — made international headlines and proved at least a momentary embarrassment for Pyongyang. This three-minute excerpt of the events of March 2 has been made freely available with English narration.
Caution: This video contains graphic footage.
Also on this date
- 1871: Ma Hualong, Dungan rebel
- 1886: David Roberts, dutiful son
- 1942: Jakub Lemberg and family
- 2006: Ali Afrawi and Mehdi Nawaseri
- 1974: Salvador Puig Antich and Heinz Ches, the last garroted in Spain
- 1585: William Parry, Vile and Base