A Korean rights group has accused North Korea of throwing a public execution of members of the country’s fan club for watching K-pop.
A video released Friday by the Seoul-based Centre for Human Rights in North Korea shows a group of over a dozen mostly teenage members of the “Songjingang Fan Club” drinking alcohol and later admitting that they made a video about their earlier performances, which some say is a violation of North Korean law.
The men were then ordered to kneel on the ground and be shot. Some of the men were found to have bought ammunition with the money they received from the fan club, according to the group.
It was not immediately clear when the incident took place. However, according to the Centre for Human Rights in North Korea, a couple of members of the fan club had tried to flee the country as soon as they returned to North Korea after going on tour abroad.
“Both they and the public executions were carried out at a public execution yard of the North Korean Office 7 where the main purpose is to carry out public executions,” the group said in a statement.
The groups said it had been told by members of the fan club that members had been instructed to destroy evidence, including their mobile phones and the photos they had taken, and that they were transferred into North Korean “security prisons.”
I, alone, bear the fault for the failure of our brave leaders. Members of Songjingang Fan Club
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, however, has condemned the public killings. “We consider such acts to be totally unacceptable,” it said in a statement.
Last year, the North Korean government arrested and sentenced to death a North Korean-American pastor, Kim Dong Chul, for allegedly spying. In May, South Korea’s intelligence agency said it had arrested two suspects for allegedly using social media accounts to spread propaganda and information on the South.
The Center for Human Rights in North Korea urged the United Nations to investigate the group for “crimes against humanity.” The group said that all the members had been forced to kneel for about two minutes and then were shot.
In a video circulated online, the men identified themselves as members of Songjingang Fan Club. The group said that it was formed to attend concerts, visit exhibitions and eat meals at Korean food outlets. They went on a tour abroad as part of its activities.
“I, alone, bear the fault for the failure of our brave leaders,” one of the men says in the video. “We, Songjingang Fan Club, never did anything wrong. We made our video clips to thank our rulers. We thought we could escape being executed. I don’t know what happened to my friends.”