North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

The Lonesome Death of Pak Nam-gi (?)

"Drumming in the morning, in the evening they'll be coming for you." Pak Nam-gi (2nd from left) at the Sokjong Cooperative Farm in late November 2009, right before the DPRK redenominated its currency (Photo: KCNA).

The Daily NK has another account of the reported execution of Pak Nam Gi:

Park, the former Director of the Planning and Financial Department of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, was denounced as a traitor and arrested in late January.

Thereafter, “At 2 P.M. on March 12th at the Seosan Stadium in the Athletes’ Village, Pyongyang, Park Nam Ki was executed before cadres in the economic field and Party Central Committee officials,” a source from Pyongyang told The Daily NK on Sunday.

“Immediately before the execution, the judge is said to have criticized Park as ‘a historical traitor who trapped the people in misery with this redenomination,’” the source added.

According to the source, an unknown Vice-Chairperson of the National Planning Commission was shot alongside Park. According to information received by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, the new Chairperson of the National Planning Commission is Noh Du Cheol, while the First Vice-Chairpersons are Kang In Sam and Park Chang Ryeon. There are also a further seven Vice-Chairpersons, including Cho Young Nam.

The Sosan Stadium where DNK reports the execution occurred is located here in Mangyongdae District in southwestern Pyongyang.


JoongAng pulsates in the same vein as Kang Chol-hwan’s Chosun Ilbo piece.  Based on ROK observation of North Korean media, footage of Pak Nam-gi accompanying KJI last fall has been cut from regularly aired documentaries.

From Feb. 24 to March 2, and again on March 19 and 20, North’s Korea Central Television aired a documentary of Kim Jong-il’s field inspections to factories and farms last November. Pak was spotted four times in the broadcast between Feb. 24 and March 2. However, parts where Pak appeared in the background were all deleted from the same film that aired on March 19 and 20.

“As far as I understand, the North ordered Pak’s appearances to be edited out of all documentaries,” a Seoul government official said.


Kang Chol-hwan has a fascinating report in Chosun Ilbo placing Pak Nam-gi in the company of other North Korean elites identified as KJI’s policy scapegoats.

In 1997, another party leader was publicly executed in Pyongyang. So Kwan-hi, the then party secretary for agricultural affairs, had also been close to Kim Il-sung. Charged with minor graft, he was made a scapegoat by Kim Jong-il for the mass starvation. He was denounced as a spy for the U.S. imperialist and shot in front of tens of thousands of people. The State Security Agency claimed the starvation was all So Kwan-hi’s fault, and North Koreans believed that, unable to credit that their “dear leader” himself could be to blame.

When the Lee Myung-bak government took office in 2008, Pyongyang started setting up another scapegoat. Choi Sung-chol, the former deputy director of the party’s United Front Department, was thrown in a concentration camp because Kim Jong-il was angry about the unexpected election result in the South, where he had thought the Left would win.

Owing to conflicting reports, it remains unclear whether Mr. Pak, recently director of the KWP Financial Planning Department, was executed or if he has been expelled, or undergoing re-education.   Tokyo Shimbun cites an anonymous source who says that while Pak Nam-gi was dismissed, “I haven’t been informed that he was executed.”

According to the report of his execution, he was sternly criticized at his Party Cell meeting, denounced as the descendant of land-owners, and killed by firing squad on the outskirts of Pyongyang.  If Pak Nam-gi has been incarcerated or executed, who initiated the criticism within his Party Cell?  If he was executed, who was the political manager?

While the prospects of Pak Nam-gi hobbling (hey, maybe KJI let him off by having his legs broken) up to the rostrum in April at the second session of the 12th SPA appear remote , the KWP-controlled  National Reconciliation Council via the DPRK’s external press responds directly to the sources of the reports of PNG’s plight:

In another development, the group even let “defectors from the north” to conduct various forms of anti-DPRK smear campaigns such as “broadcasting for reforms in the north”, “broadcasting for leading the north to opening” and “daily NK” in a bid to utter a spate of anti-DPRK vituperation. It also made them visit puppet army units and even foreign countries so that they might appear in “security lectures” and “seminars” and at “interviews” to hurl mud at the DPRK. And it instigated them to scatter leaflets, stage such foolish anti-DPRK charade as “opera” and “art performances” and publication of novels and memoirs.

What should not be overlooked is that the puppet group has made no scruple of hurting the supreme headquarters of the DPRK, not content with raising a hue and cry over its situation while working with blood-shot eyes to spy it with human scum involved.

One of the above-mentioned news outlets, Daily NK, carries an unconfirmed report that the KIS-era octogenarian former Minister of Finance Yun Ki-jong is leading State economic interventions.

And here I was with high hopes (and bloodshot eyes) that KJI would continue chipping away at the gerontocracy in Pyongyang.

Pak Nam-gi (1st from R) during KJI's tour of the Chollima (Kangson) Steel Complex in December 2008 (Photo: KCNA)

Pak Nam-gi (1st from R) during KJI's November 2009 tour of the Hungnam Fertilizer Factory (Photo: KCNA)

An affiliate of 38 North