Perhaps none can compare with North Korea’s list of surprises: nuclear threats, imminent attacks, and bloated displays of power.

Then there’s the execution of Kim Jong-un’s ex-lover by firing squad.


Unhasu Orchestra singer Hyon, believed to be Kim Jong-un’s former lover, was among the 12 arrested for violating North Korea’s laws on pornography. The accused were charged with recording and selling videos of themselves performing sexual acts.

Days later, they were executed by machine guns — all for their family members to see. According to reports, onlookers who witnessed the execution were also sent to prison camps on grounds of “guilt by association.”

Years before Hyon’s tragic fate, she took part in the release of North Korean patriotic songs, which include, among many others, “I love Pyongyang” and “Footsteps of Soldiers.” But what catapulted her to stardom in 2005 was the song “Excellent Horse-Like Lady.”


Hyon’s intimiate relationship with the North Korean leader blossomed about 10 years ago, against the wishes of his father, Kim Jong-il. Hyon eventually married a military officer, but rumors still spread that Hyon and Kim continued their affair after her marriage.

Kim Jong-un then married Ri Sol-ju, also a member of the Unashu Ochestra. She too was believed to have objected to Hyon’s high-profile status.

For Kim’s ambitions and drive to gain control of the North Korean government, even ousting his own stepmother from the Workers’ Party Finance and Accounting Department was a reality.

And when it comes to paying the price for nonconformity and disrespect? Kim Jong-un’s army vice minister, Kim Chol, who was charged for drinking and partying during the mourning period for Kim Jong-il’s death, was obliterated with mortar — an overkill Kim Jong-un preferred, giving instructions to leave “no trace” of the the vice minister behind, “down to his hair.”