NORTH KOREA: OFFICIALS EXECUTED OVER CURRENCY BUNGLE
March 12, 2010: North Korea executed two top financial officials in a desperate attempt to quell public anger at its bungled currency revaluation, South Korean news reports and analysts said. The first man was an unidentified deputy head of the National Planning Commission over a bungled currency revaluation which fuelled food shortages and sparked unrest in the isolated communist state, Internet newspaper The Daily NK reported. He was shot dead along with another official, Pak Nam-Ki who was earlier reported sacked as chief of the ruling communist party's planning and finance department. According to Yonhap news agency, Pak, 77, was charged "with ruining the national economy deliberately as the son of a big landlord who infiltrated the ranks of revolutionaries." But it said many North Koreans believe he was made a scapegoat for the botched revaluation, which fuelled inflation and worsened serious food shortages.
Yonhap said the regime executed Pak as public anger had derailed a propaganda campaign to promote ailing leader Kim Jong-Il's youngest son Jong-Un as eventual successor.
"All the blame has been poured on Pak after the currency reform failure exacerbated public sentiment and had a bad effect" on the succession plan, one source was quoted as saying.
Pak was one of Kim Jong-Il's close associates and frequently accompanied the leader on his trademark "field inspections" outside Pyongyang. He had not been mentioned by official media since early January. The Daily NK, citing a source in Pyongyang, said the pair were shot at the Seosan Stadium in the capital's Athletes Village in front of a group of economic officials and communist party Central Committee members. (Sources: AsiaNews.it, Afp, 18/03/2010 e 05/04/2010)