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North Korea executes top defense chief

Oct. 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- North Korea executed the vice minister of its armed forces for drinking alcohol during the mourning period for former leader Kim Jong Il, a lawmaker said.

The lawmaker told South Korea's The Chosun Ilbo Kim Chol was executed by firing squad in January in an apparent bid by new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to force top military brass into submission.

So far this year 14 senior party, government and military leaders in North Korea have fallen victim to purges, said Yoon Sang Hyun of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee.

He said the purges would continue for the time being as Kim Jong Un tightens his grip on power.

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