Kim Jong Un, who seized power in North Korea following the death of his father Kim Jong Il, recently demonstrated that the regime will not be softening under his rule.
This week, sources reported Kim Jong Un ordered that defectors attempting to flee the country be shot.
A Japanese paper called Sankei Shimbun reported last week that Kim Jong Un issued an order not to let a single defector get away around Dec. 19, when the North announced the death of Kim Jong Il, citing a source supposedly knowledgeable about the North Korea-China border areas.
“Kim Jong-un has ordered intensified control in border areas in recent years since he emerged as successor to his father Kim Jong-il,” a defector-turned-reporter at Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based media organization specializing in the North, told the Korean JoongAng Daily. “And now Kim Jong-un is ordering immediate executions when people are caught trying to cross the borders [without permission].”
Kim Jong Un has reportedly also ordered that three generations of relatives of any defectors are also to be killed — an act that is said to have never been carried out under his father.
The number of North Korean defectors has increased sharply over the past several years as people in the country have suffered food shortages and learned more about other parts of the world.