Forced to witness public executions and beaten for 15 days after his first escape attempt, a former North Korean soldier speaks to Sky News about the horrors of life under Kim Jong-Un. After more than two decades serving in North Korea’s military, he escaped from the country last year.
I asked him about the TV pictures we see from Pyongyang – the vast celebrations, the resounding applause for the country’s leader. “When people are clapping,” he says, “if you don’t clap, if you nod off, you’re marked as not following Kim Jong-Un’s doctrine. …You chant ‘Long Live’ and clap because you don’t want to die.”
For all of the very public displays of devotion, he says the reality is a brutal dictatorship. He describes public executions, and a regime that demands total loyalty. “In our unit, when I was a lieutenant, we saw one of our own soldiers executed by gunfire. Public executions … I have seen a lot of public executions.”
Under Mr Kim, he says, people are more afraid. “In North Korea, if you watch South Korean dramas, then they can take you away, in extreme cases you can be executed. They watch it themselves first, and if it’s fun, they keep it.” Read more