The Worst Crimes Ever Committed By Kim Jong-Un

Many mysteries surround the dictatorial leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), or simply North Korea. It's fairly certain that Kim Jong-un was born on January 8, 1984, per Britannica, making the autocrat 38 years old. He was 27 years old when he took power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, who himself had come to rule after the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, who held power for an astonishing period from 1948, the year the country was founded, until 1994, according to Biography.

Unlike his famous grandfather and very public dad, Kim Jong-un lived his life largely unseen until he was a young adult. He attended school in Switzerland, living a reportedly normal life with an aunt and uncle, their three children, and his older brother Kim Jong-chol, per Politico Magazine. While it might have been expected for Jong-chol to inherit power when Kim Jong-il died, it was Kim Jong-un who emerged as heir apparent in the 2000s. The youngest Kim began to publicly accompany his father on inspections of military facilities, weaponry, and troops, and this followed studies at Pyongyang's Kim Il-Sung National War College, per Britannica.

When Kim Jong Il died and Jong-un took power, it was briefly possible the newly minted premier would change course from his notorious forebears. Instead, Kim Jong-un has doubled down on military escalation and suppression of free speech and information, violating laws — not to mention basic decency — with wanton abandon.

Kim Jung-un has ordered countless extrajudicial murders

According to a damming report released in the summer of 2021 and that studied well over half a decade of data, under Kim Jong-un, the North Korean state has illegally murdered countless thousands of people. Per the "Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in North Korea 2014 — 2020" report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for North Korea, the killings not only violate almost all international laws (and standards of morality), but are technically in violation of North Korean law. 

Those who were found to have been killed by state actors included everyone from political prisoners to attempted emigrants, religious believers to perceived dissidents, those charged with minor drug offenses, or even those found guilty of "crimes" such as distributing non-approved movies, music, or other media. And these illegal murders are not just against international standards, but executions that are technically against DPRK law, too, which usually reserves the death penalty, in theory, for severe crimes such as terrorism, treason against the state, the manufacture or distribution of illegal narcotics, and premeditated murder.

Specifics cited in the report include executions predicated on ludicrous things such as "cases where the death penalty was carried out due to charges of carrying the Bible, distributing propaganda leaflets, and engaging in acts of superstition." In a state with that little regard for its own laws and even less regard for human life, only total, unswerving loyalty to the leader can help assure one's liberty — and even life.

The DPRK has illegally imprisoned thousands under Kim Jong-un

For every person murdered by the regime of Kim Jong-un, many more have been illegally imprisoned. Trespasses as simple as a word against the regime can land someone in a penal colony with horrific conditions, and what's worse, according to the APPG report, the conditions are often effectively created to ensure the suffering and death of those detained. The findings included information that "at one prison camp, 1,500 to 2,000 prisoners, mostly children, are believed to have died each year from malnutrition."

In other prisons and detention "camps," as penal facilities are often known in the DPRK, not only are "deliberate starvation, malnutrition, and overwork are extremely common, [often] resulting in the deaths of countless prisoners," but what's worse, the punishment for attempting to scavenge extra food, such as wild edibles found in forests or mountains where the prisoners are being worked, is usually summary execution. 

Under Kim Jong-un, people are routinely imprisoned for practicing religion, for attempting to flee the nation, for dissidence or sedition, and other effectively codified crimes, but it is the fact that an arrest (and often a disappearance) can come as a result of any offense, real or simply alleged, that is the true sign of how recklessly and selectively the DPRK imprisons people.

Kim Jung Un had his uncle brutally executed on trumped-up charges

In a move intended both to actually shore up power by removing a potential adversary and to send a clear message to anyone who may have been considering going against Kim Jong-un, early on in his rule, the cold, calculating young despot had several people executed in barbaric fashion, including his own uncle, Jang Song-thaek. According to reporting from the Daily Mail, Kim Jong-un first ordered his uncle to witness the executions of several other former senior DPRK officials on trumped-up charges. Jang Song-thaek was forced to stand so near the condemned during their killings, which were savagely conducted with anti-aircraft artillery, that the blood of those put to death splattered all over him, leading him to faint.

A few months after these gruesome killings, evidently not content to have made his point, Kim Jong-un had his own uncle killed in the same way: He was executed by antiaircraft gun firing squad. The Daily Mail also reported, largely thanks to information shared by an escaped former North Korean dissident, that the young dictator had ordered a number of other bizarre and violent executions as well. These included putting people to death via the use of a flame thrower, as well as a former politician and his mistress who were allegedly stripped naked and then set upon by a pack of wild and ravenous dogs who literally ripped them to death.

Kim has ordered myriad illegal missile tests

Under international law (and sanctions), the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is not allowed to conduct tests of most weaponry, certainly including intercontinental ballistic missiles that could well be armed with nuclear war heads. Yet the DPRK has launched many banned missiles over the course of its existence, including many missile tests ordered by Kim Jong-un. In fact, after a several-year hiatus of illegal missile tests, North Korea fired off an ICBM just last March, according to the BBC. And in this case, it was a missile that was almost assuredly nuclear capable and that would have the range to strike well into the United States. In fact, the most advanced North Korean missiles may be able to reach anywhere in the U.S., even including Washington, D.C., New York, or other major East Coast targets.

The fact that it seems to be an ever-advancing North Korean missile program is precisely why it's so worrisome when Kim Jong-un orders these banned test firings: Just one illegal missile test could pave the way for a flagrantly illegal and horrifically destructive actual armed launch. If that were to happen — if an armed ICBM were to penetrate American defenses — all the outrage and saber rattling that follows each test would have proved entirely meaningless.

The DPRK under Kim Jong-un uses rape as a weapon

Rape on its own is a heinous crime committed by an individual or, in even worse circumstances, a group. And far too often during times of conflict, that "group" is a state that is using rape as one of the tools in its arsenal. Rape has long been weaponized by the crueler states and military actors out there, and the DPRK under Kim Jong-un is no exception, according to the APPG report. The only difference here is that North Korea is not at war or dealing with rebellion or terrorist groups; the women subjected to this awful crime are not citizens of an enemy state or even members of any noted group of rebels or dissidents. They are North Korean nationals who are tortured in this most physically and psychologically damaging way.

According to the Inquiry's findings, officials regularly conduct rape, sexual violence, and gender-based violence against women, both punitively (for bogus charges) and as warnings to others. The very word "rape" appears 40 times in the 91-page report, and to amplify the anguish, so too will you find the phrase "forced abortion" 25 times and the word "infanticide" a dozen times. Among the many findings in the APPG paper is the conclusion: "The evidence available suggests that rape and sexual violence are common occurrences in political prison camps and detention centers." Women in North Korean custody are powerless to resist such sexual violence as doing so, in almost all cases, will lead to even more severe treatment, often including death.

Torture of prisoners, detainees, and dissidents is rampant under Kim

It will come as little surprise that a regime that not only condones but even encourages the disappearance, rape, and murder of its own citizens would also have torture rampant in the North Korean penal system. The examples are numbered like the stars, according to the Inquiry into Human Rights Violations North Korea report. And the people subjected to torture experience it for an amazingly broad range of reasons, such as practicing Christianity, or trying to hide food.

Once a North Korean (or a foreign national, in some cases) is within the DPRK's penal system, it is entirely likely they will at some point be subjected to torture. The report found "torture and ill-treatment reportedly remain widespread and systematic in detention facilities" and that the methods included beatings, electric shocks, forced stress positions, inverted suspension, starvation, sleep deprivation, and that torture is sometimes used to send a message, with corpses left in rooms with walls covered in blood.

One of the most common reasons for torture, conducted by the Ministry of Security, is indeed the DPRK's ongoing commitment to stamping out Christianity, the report found, with Christians being subject to harsher punishments

Kim has had entire generations of families sent to prison camps for the alleged crimes of one person

Woe be not only to the person arrested for crimes against the state — be they actual or alleged — in North Korea, but in many cases woes come also to that person's entire family. Under Kim Jong-un, it is common for a person charged with a political crime or treasonous act to have their entire family arrested and detained as well — including their children, their parents, and even grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and so forth, according to reporting from PBS' Frontline. The report read in part that "Kim Jong-un [is known for] punishing political offenders by sending generations of their families to prison camps, and kidnapping and torturing defectors."

This information was bolstered by input from a North Korean defector who had himself been imprisoned in the DPRK for years. The intention of this practice is clear: It is to terrify people into staying in line. And the implications are terrifying: Even an entirely innocent person, meaning innocent in the eyes of the harsh North Korean state, may find himself or herself in a horrid situation because of something a relative did — or may not have even done, as mere suspicion or accusation is plenty enough to get someone swept up by the state.

DPRK government hackers stole some $600 million in cryptocurrency in March

Why stick to murder and illegal missile tests and torture when you can also steal huge amounts of money? According to reporting from CNN, the DPRK certainly has done so on a grand scale. At the direction of Kim Jong-un's government, earlier this year North Korean hackers stole a staggering $600 million worth of cryptocurrency. The specific cryptocurrency pilfered was Ethereum, and it was stolen from a computer network used by the video game Axie Infinity, which allowed players to earn cryptocurrency within the course of game play.

Though the FBI confirmed that hackers from the APT38 and Lazarus Group, both of which work at the behest of the North Korean government, were behind the theft, there is little that the American government or any other state can do to recover the lost funds or to punish the hackers or Kim Jong-un's government. The United States Treasury Department did slap sanctions onto the Lazarus Group, but as it is an extralegal entity working out of the DPRK, these were essentially symbolic and have had little tangible effect (via the National Interest). This massive $600 million theft was just the latest in a long line of cyberattacks — including thefts and other operations — executed at the direction of the North Korean government.

Kim's government has conducted five illegal nuclear weapons tests and may conduct another any day

Right now, according to Scientific American, there are nine countries known to be armed with nuclear weapons, and these are China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and North Korea. (Iran may already be in that club, or could likely join it at very short notice, of course.) It's known that North Korea has achieved nuclear weapons capabilities because they have illegally tested nukes on multiple occasions, including several performed under Kim Jong-un's rule.

While the DPRK first tested what was apparently a successful nuclear bomb under Kim Jong Il back in 2006, according to the New York Times, and would detonate several more weapons under the elder Kim, the pace of illegal weapons testing accelerated under his son Kim Jong-un. Experts believe North Korea detonated a bomb in 2013, per the Arms Control Association, and then set off two more in 2016 and one in 2017 (via CBS).

Now many North Korea watchers believe Kim's government is planning to soon conduct another test, according to CBS News. Experts believe the rogue nation will deploy a smaller tactical nuclear device — the kind which could easily be fitted onto a missile. Every illegal test adds to this dangerous nation's — and this dangerous man's — ability to threaten the rest of the world.

Kim Jong-un had his half brother assassinated in a bizarre way

Kim Jong-un, who apparently has no reservations when it comes to having his relatives killed, is also consistent in that he has his family members killed in strange, dramatic ways. But when it came to his elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong-un could not have him executed by anti-aircraft weapon firing squad, as his brother was not living in North Korea when the dictator decided to off him.

Instead, Kim's operatives concocted a truly bizarre plan, according to Insider. North Korean operatives hired two unwitting women and tricked them into being assassins. One of them, a woman from a small village in Indonesia named Siti Aisyah, later gave a detailed account of what happened. She told authorities she was recruited by several men she was told were the TV producers of a prank show. She was paid about $120 per prank in which she rubbed baby oil on the faces of unsuspected strangers, an act she did several times for the cash and because she aspired to become a YouTube star.

Only in the case of the last "prank" Aisyah pulled, she was not rubbing baby oil on a random person's face, but had instead been supplied VX nerve agent and directed at Kim Jong Nam. Ultimately, the other woman, Duong Thi Huong, slathered the deadly serum on Kim Jong Nam's face and then, in a move that (again unwittingly) saved lives, both washed their hands. The elder Kim, on the other hand, would be dead before he reached the hospital there in Kuala Lumpur. 

After initially denying any COVID had entered the DPRK, the government began recommending ineffective treatments

The official North Korean response to the COVID-19 pandemic was initially one of complete denial and disinformation. According to a BBC News story from this past spring, the DPRK initially denied that were any coronavirus cases at all within its nation, and it sealed its borders (even tighter than usual) to keep the virus at bay. Experts believe this was all bluff and bluster, and that indeed the virus was raging about in the DPRK. Lying to the world and your own people about a deadly virus is one thing — and a wrong thing at that. Refusing to accept any help even though it was offered by the international community and also failing to make any adequate internal plan to deal with the disease internally is criminal, but that's what the government of Kim Jong-un did for some two years.

Now the DPRK has finally admitted that COVID-19 is there in its lands, but their response remains fraught and, overall, a failure. Lacking the appropriate means to fight the COVID-19 pandemic — despite the fact that many nations have it well in hand — the North Korean state began urging people to fight infections with traditional medicine, according to another BBC report. This included but was not limited to remedies like ginger or honeysuckle tea, a willow-leaf drink, and gargling with salt water, none of which have any efficacy against COVID-19, which Kim and his ilk know well.

All told, Kim's regime has committed 10 of 11 internationally recognized crimes against humanity

Sometimes, getting a 10 out of 11 would be a good thing, such as when answering a quiz, for example. When it comes to noted crimes against humanity, on the other hand, it's really no cause for celebration. But that's the "score," so to speak, that Kim Jong-un has racked up, according to NBC Chicago. The dictator and his regime are guilty of 10 out of 11 of the United Nations' current roster of crimes against humanity, including "murder, extermination, enslavement, forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, enforced disappearances and other inhumane acts."

Note also that this reporting took place before ex-President Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone at the 38th Parallel, according to the LA Times, meaning Trump should have known full well that the person with whom he had been so eager to meet was a murderous monster.