A North Korean captain of a fishing boat was executed for listening to a prohibited foreign radio station in public, it is alleged.
Radio Free Asia, supported by the US government, said that the mariner was put to death after revealing that for more than 15 years he had listened to his broadcasts, Mail Online reported.
It was confirmed that while out at sea, the man had picked up the international airwaves and listened to news reports and radio programming.
A source told RFA that the captain of the ship, identified as Choi, was executed by a firing squad in front of an additional 100 fishing employees.
He is said to have admitted to being the owner of a fleet of over 50 ships after one of his crew members turned him into an officer at a base in the port city of Chongjin.
An official in the province of North Hamgyong reported that when Choi was a radio operator in the military, he began listening to international broadcasts.
He maintained the habit after leaving the military – leaving him vulnerable to allegations of ‘subversion against the party,’ it is said.
A subsequent crackdown at the fishing base also resulted in the dismissal of party officials and security officers, it is stated.
‘In mid-October, the captain of a Chongjin fishing vessel was executed by a firing squad on charges of regularly listening to Radio Free Asia over a long period of time,’ said a source.
His crime was described by the provincial security department as an attempt at subversion against the group.
‘They fired him openly at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers of the fish processing plants at the site,’ the source added.
The party leaders, the base administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea were also dismissed or discharged.’
The captain seemed to be under the delusion that he would be immune to criminal charges’ because he was part of the fishing base of Bureau 39, a secret branch of the party that obtains foreign currency for North Korean leaders, a source said.
However, he was reported to the security department by one of his crew members, contributing to his downfall.
A second source said One of the fishermen wanted revenge for the arrogant and disrespectful actions of Choi, so he reported it to the security department.’
In some parts of North Korea, international radio stations may be open, but Kim Jong-regime un’s retains a tight control on what the public should be aware of.
The second source reported that when they go out to sea, it is ‘normal’ for fishermen to listen to foreign broadcasts like RFA.
‘Therefore the authorities seem to have given an example from Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations implies death,’ the source said.
Sponsored by Washington and with an office in Seoul, Radio Free Asia broadcasts six hours of programming a day to North Korea.