Kim Jong-un Won't Tolerate Sleepy Listeners

      May 14, 2015 11:25

      One of the reasons North Korean Army chief Hyon Yong-chol was executed was because he was caught dozing off during a meeting.

      The official Rodong Sinmun daily on April 26 carried a photo showing Hyon with his eyes closed while leader Kim Jong-un was giving a speech at a military rally on April 24-25.

      But Hyon is absent in photos of Kim and other officials published in the daily on May 1 after another military event the previous day.

      A National Intelligence Service official said, "Kim Jong-un is very sensitive about dozing off during meetings and punishes officials who are caught." The official added that Hyon may have only looked asleep as his eyes were closed.

      North Korean Army chief Hyon Yong-chol (front left) looks asleep during a meeting in this photo released by the official Rodong Sinmun daily on April 26, 2015.

      Kim apparently warned officials several times not to fall asleep during meetings. Gen. Choe Kyong-song also failed to heed Kim's warning and was apparently demoted from a three-star to one-star military rank, while espionage chief Kim Yong-chol was demoted for the same offense.

      The draconian measure appears aimed at instilling a sense of fear among top brass. Kim's uncle and former eminence grise Jang Song-taek was executed after lounging during one of Kim's speeches and applauding feebly.

      One member of a state-run think tank said, "Kim was raised as a prince and is extremely power-hungry and proud. He considers any dissent or improper behavior a personal insult.

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