A North Korean fishing boat captain was executed in public for listening to a banned foreign radio station, it is claimed.
The US government-funded Radio Free Asia said that the mariner was put to death after admitting he had listened to its broadcasts for more than 15 years, Mail Online reported.
It was reported that the man had been picking up the foreign airwaves while out at sea and listening to news broadcasts and radio programming.
A source told RFA that the boat captain, known as Choi, was executed by firing squad in front of 100 other fisheries workers.
The man, who was the owner of a fleet of over 50 ships, is said to have confessed after one of his crew members turned him into authorities at a base in the port city of Chongjin.
An official in North Hamgyong province claimed that Choi had started listening to foreign broadcasts when he was a radio operator in the military.
After leaving the military, he continued the habit – leaving him exposed to charges of ‘subversion against the party’, it is claimed.
A subsequent crackdown at the fishing base also led to party officials and security officers being dismissed, it is reported.
‘In mid-October, a captain of a fishing boat from Chongjin was executed by firing squad, on charges of listening to Radio Free Asia regularly over a long period of time,’ a source said.
‘The provincial security department defined his crime as an attempt of subversion against the party.
‘They publicly shot him at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers of the facility’s fish processing plants,’ the source added.
‘They also dismissed or discharged party officials, the base’s administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea.’
The captain appeared to be ‘under the illusion that because he was part of Bureau 39’s fishing base, a shadowy wing of the party which obtains foreign currency for North Korean leaders, he would be immune to criminal charges’, a source said.
However, one of his crew members reported him to the security department, leading to his downfall.
A second source said: ‘One of the fishermen sought vengeance for Choi’s arrogant and disrespectful behaviour so he reported him to the security department.’
Foreign radio stations can be received in some parts of North Korea, but Kim Jong-un’s regime keeps a strict grip on what should be known to the public.
The second source claimed it is ‘common’ for fishermen to listen to foreign broadcasts such as RFA when they go out to sea.
‘Therefore, it seems that the authorities made an example out of Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations means death,’ the source claimed.
Radio Free Asia, which is funded by Washington and has an office in Seoul, broadcasts six hours of programming a day to North Korea, according to Mail Online.