North Korea Defense Chief 'Removed' From Role Over Nap: Reports
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's intelligence agency said Wednesday that Kim Jong Un's defense chief had been "removed" from his position in neighboring North Korea.
It was unclear whether Hyon Yong Chol had been executed or merely ousted by the regime.
A spokesman for the NIS intelligence agency told NBC News he could not confirm news agency reports that Hyon was shot to pieces with an anti-aircraft gun in front of hundreds of spectators.
Reuters, The Associated Press and South Korea's news agency Yonhap reported that lawmakers said the NIS had briefed them on the alleged anti-aircraft-gun execution during a closed-door parliamentary committee session Wednesday.
The lawmakers said that, according to the NIS' intelligence, 66-year-old Hyon was charged with treason, including allegations he had disrespected North Korea's autocratic ruler Kim Jong Un by falling asleep during one of his meetings. By Julie Yoo and Alexander Smith"Busing in senior officers or VIPs to observe a ZPU-4 dry-fire training exercise at a small arms range amidst North Korea's fuel shortages would make no sense… The most plausible explanation of the scene captured in the October 7 satellite image is a gruesome public execution," it said.
Alexander Smith reported from London. Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.