The purge of Jang Song Thaek associates has reportedly continued with the execution of a senior Central Administrative Department official in North Korea’s ruling party, a Japanese news agency reported Tuesday.
Choe Byung Hee, a division chief at the Central Administrative Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, has been shot to death following the execution of Jang Song Thaek’s associates Ri Yong Ha and Jang Soo Kil from the same department, the Asia Press agency reported, quoting a local government official in the northern Ryanggang province of North Korea.
According to Asia Press, the local government official has received from the headquarters of the Workers’ Party of Korea a “name list of elimination” showing the names of Jang associates who have been purged and executed. Choe’s name was reportedly on the list.
Jang Song Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle and Chief of the Central Administrative Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, was publicly executed for treason last month after being stripped of all of his major positions. His close aides Ri Yong Ha and Jang Soo Kil were purged in November.
Asia Press said it remained unclear when Choe was executed, but said “there is no doubt this is part of the cleanup of Jang’s associates inside his Central Administrative Department human network.”
The news agency also said about 3,000 people seen as associates of Jang have been sent to the remote mountain areas of Ryanggang Province from Pyongyang and other places. The province is located along the northern border with China.
Those people were exiled to remote mountains in Paegam County of Ryanggang Province, rather than to the urban area of Hyesan City and other border zones in the province.
The news agency also said although there are rumors that North Korea has put to death “entire families of Jang through three generation,” the purge is limited to direct relatives of Jang.
Asia Press, led by noted journalist Jiro Ishimaru, has a network of undercover reporters in North Korea. The news agency’s head office is in Osaka prefecture.