January 4th, 2012 Headsman
Sometime in early January — nobody seems to know quite when — North Korean intelligence official Ryu Kyong disappeared, apparently executed.
The number two man, and perhaps de facto number one man, in the State Security Department and a longtime Kim Jon-il ally, Ryu was reportedly “summoned by Kim Jong-il in early January and on his way to Kim’s residence, was arrested by members of the General Guard Bureau. He was interrogated and secretly executed.”
Speculative reason: the Leader viewed Ryu as having grown too powerful, and therefore as a potential rival to a clean succession for Kim Jong-un.
“With Ryu, many others were purged at the State Security Department,” a Seoul analyst said. “We can say that as he gained control of the department, Kim Jong-un needed to give jobs to people loyal to him.”
Also on this date
- 1943: "Native parachutists" in Morocco
- 1897: The Bicol martyrs of Philippines independence
- 1721: John Stewart, pirate
- 1943: Jerzy Iwanow (Georgios Ivanof)
- 1946: The treacherous Theodore Schurch
- 838: Babak Khorramdin