NORTH KOREA: CHAGANG PROVINCE FORESTRY OFFICIAL EXECUTED FOR ILLEGAL CORN FARM
|A monument in Pyongyang to North Korea's ruling Korean Workers' Party
May 9, 2020:
The head of a local forest management office in Chagang Province was recently executed for removing saplings from state-owned land and planting corn in their place, Daily NK reported on 16 April 2020. (Sources: dailynk.com, 16/04/2020)
The man’s execution came after the Chagang Province People’s Committee’s launched an inquiry into why the local forest management office in Kopung County failed to grow the state-set quota of saplings and send them over to the committee on Arbor Day (2 March).
Forest management offices throughout North Korea are required to cultivate saplings to plant on Arbor Day each year.
The people’s committee’s inquiry found that the director of the Kopung County forest management office, a man in his 50s, had removed saplings planted last spring and planted corn seeds in their place. The man then distributed the harvested corn to his colleagues and their families while the remaining corn stalks were given to the 22 cows owned by the office.
Interestingly, the man had planted “Pyongyang No. 12” corn seeds, which typically produce corn stalks with two or three ears of corn. The corn stalks are typically twice as large as normal stalks, making them particularly good for animal feed. He reportedly had acquired the seeds in Pyongyang.
The man’s actions were in accordance with the North Korean communist party’s call for the people to become “self-reliant” in food; however, the authorities reportedly chose to execute him because he failed to receive permission to turn state-owned land into a corn farm. His actions also went against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s calls to “reforest” the country.
On the day of the man’s execution, local high school students (age 15 and over) along with other locals from the county gathered near a market. Sources in the province told Daily NK that a vehicle with a speaker broadcast the man’s crime before he was shot with nine bullets as he stood tied up at a stake.
“Locals say that it’s the first time a public execution has ever occurred in Kopung County,” one source told Daily NK.
“The man’s colleagues and their families were made to stand at the very front watching his execution and had to watch him being shot to death without showing any emotion,” he added.