Pak Nam-gi executed for bungled currency reform

18 03 2010

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) — North Korea executed a former top finance official last week, holding him responsible for the country’s currency reform fiasco that has caused massive inflation, worsened food shortages and dented leader Kim Jong-il’s efforts to transfer power to a son, sources said Thursday.

Pak Nam-Ki, who was reportedly sacked in January as chief of the planning and finance department of the ruling Workers’ Party, was executed at a shooting range in Pyongyang, multiple sources familiar with information on North Korea told Yonhap News Agency. “All the blame has been poured on Pak after the currency reform failure exacerbated public sentiment and had a bad effect” on leader Kim Jong-il’s plan to hand power over to his third son Kim Jong-un, one source told Yonhap on condition of anonymity.

Pak, a 77-year-old technocrat, was charged with “deliberately ruining the national economy” as a “son of a big landowner,” the sources said. But an overwhelming number of people believe the charge serves only to scapegoat Pak for the currency revaluation, which fueled already-bad inflation and dried up food and basic supplies for the public, the sources said.

Pak, a graduate of engineering schools in the former Soviet Union and one of its satellite states, disappeared from North Korea’s official media reports in January after having accompanied Kim Jong-il on a number of his field inspections.

Pak’s execution is the latest in a series of punishments the North has reportedly meted out to its elite for failed economic reforms. South Korean officials and analysts believe North Korean leader Kim has been pushing a series of bold economic drives in recent months to pave the ground for power transfer to his son, after the regime shored up its military self-confidence by conducting its second nuclear test in May last year.

Pak visited South Korea in 2002 as head of a committee overseeing economic planning, leading a delegation of bureaucrats and inspecting South Korean industrial facilities…

See reports which deny the fact that Pak Nam-gi was executed or even held responsible for the currency reform.

北 박남기 黨부장 처형설은 “사실무근” [노컷뉴스] 2010년 03월 30일(화)

북한의 박남기 당중앙위 부장이 지난 연말 단행된 화폐개혁 실패에 따른 문책으로 현직에서 해임되고, 공개 처형됐다는 일부 보도는 사실이 아니라고 북한전략센터가 주장했다.

(사) 북한전략센터는 30일 “현재 해외에 머물고 있는 복수의 북한 소식통을 인용해 화폐개혁은 전적으로 내각이 실무를 주도했으며, 박남기 부장과는 전혀 무관한 일로 그가 책임질 일이 아니라”고 말했다….

북한 박남기 처형설은 사실무근 [뉴데일리] 2010년 03월 29일(월)

…소식통은 “박 부장은 26일 현재 현직을 유지하고 있으며, 업무에 충실하고 있다”며 “철직(해임)설이나 처형설은 난센스”라고 일축했다. 소식통은 “박 부장이 최근 김정일 앞에서 자그만 ‘말실수’를 해 김정일로부터 질책을 받은 바 있다”면서 “(이 때문에) 김정일의 공개 활동을 수행하는 ‘행사조’ 명단에서 제외됐다”고 전했다.

또한 박 부장이 ‘행사조’ 명단에서 제외되자 김정일의 공개활동 자료를 제작·배포하는 ‘5호문헌편집사'(노동신문 등에는 ‘정치보도반’으로 명기) 담당자들이 이미 나와 있는 자료에서까지 그의 모습을 삭제하는 ‘과잉행동’을 보이고 있다고 소식통은 덧붙였다…

We have already reported about Pak Nam-gi’s suspected arrest in January 2010…

Listen to the related radio interview with Dr. Bronwen Dalton on ABC Radio Australia (February 4, 2010)