North Korean finance official blamed for currency crisis executed by firing squad

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28 Responses to “North Korean finance official blamed for currency crisis executed by firing squad”

  1. dainel says:

    This is not a young person. He’s 77. Can anyone think of a reason he might retire/die without being executed?

  2. Jonathan Badger says:

    Note that this “news” is from a South Korean source. It has not been announced by KCNA, the official news agency of North Korea. The facts are that Pak Nam-gi has not been seen lately. Does this mean he was executed? Arrested? Demoted to a leader of an obscure collective farm? Who knows? I have no doubt that North Korea *could* have executed him, but more proof than unnamed sources “with connections to North Korea” are required.

    • malthusan says:

      I understand your skepticism, but I’m curious what you would deem acceptable as proof. It’s unlikely the North Korean govt is going to put out an international press release stating they’ve executed a former govt official for whatever reason. In fact, one could reasonably assume, if they make any statement at all, it will only say he as “retired,” never to be seen again.

      If the KCNA says they didn’t execute this guy, would you believe them? Is there any reason to believe any official announcements from NK, if there is no means of verifying what they’ve said?

      Again, I respect your skepticism, but this is a situation in which the standard of proof seems difficult, if not impossible to attain. Given the circumstances, what would satisfy your desire for “more proof”? What sources would you believe?

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        North Korea is not afraid to announce the execution of “agents of imperialism”. It would be not hard for the KCNA to claim that Pak was on the CIA payroll or something and thus was a traitor meriting death even if his only real crime was incompetence. No, I wouldn’t necessarily believe a KCNA denial of the execution without evidence that Pak was still alive, but I remember that not too long ago, similar “unnamed sources” claimed that Kim Jong Il was dead merely because he too hadn’t been seen lately in public.

  3. Phlip says:

    Yet another witness silenced to protect the actual culprits…

  4. Anonymous says:

    what going to happen to Pak Nam-gi family? is anyone of Pak Nam-gi family a soldier of north Korea?

  5. Summer Seale says:

    I would probably feel sorry for this guy if it weren’t for the fact that he was part of the apparatus of evil there just as much as Kim Jong Il himself (or almost as much).

    Still, it’s bloody barbaric, and that’s exactly the sort of evil mindset we are dealing with when we talk to the North Korean leadership.

    • Rindan says:

      I would probably feel sorry for this guy if it weren’t for the fact that he was part of the apparatus of evil there just as much as Kim Jong Il himself (or almost as much).

      I hate to be an evil apologist, but the North Korean system shoves people towards doing horrible things. You and your entire freaking family can be carted off to a slave camp for all manner of minor offenses. With that sort of thing hanging over your head, you might be shocked at the things you will say and do, even if through the haze of life long propaganda and knowing no other system you realize it is utterly wrong.

      In a lot of ways, the North Korean system is worse than the Hitler’s Nazi government. The Nazi government was brutal on dissidents, filled with propaganda, but not to the same levels as North Korea. German citizens in large number truly believed in the system and committed many of the acts they committed out of true belief rather than coercion (though this certainly wasn’t true for all). The North Korean system is almost pure coercion. People often do what they do out of terror and a need to survive, with true believers being more likely to be the exception rather than the rule. Even the most brainwashed idiot can’t ignore the piles of corpses from people starving to death and keep swallowing the party line that everything is peachy.

      I am not saying that this guy probably didn’t deserve his head on a spike, but just keep in mind he (and all North Koreans) exist in a system where dissidents is not just death, but life long (which tends to not be a very long time) slavery for your extended family.

      • dculberson says:

        Ouch. If there was an “out” in the form of suicide, then I bet the system wouldn’t last. But the threats to your family even after you’re gone would be enough to keep almost everyone in line. That’s rough.

  6. _OM_ says:

    …Hard to believe it, but at least Kim Jong Il is capable of doing *something* right.

  7. RHK says:

    Well, you can’t accuse the DPRK of not keeping it’s promise of lifetime employment.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You and your entire freaking family can be carted off to a slave camp for all manner of minor offenses. With that sort of thing hanging over your head, you might be shocked at the things you will say and do, even if through the haze of life long propaganda and knowing no other system you realize it is utterly wrong.thank you
    …………………………………………………..

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is how he would have been dealt with in a few countries (mostly in Asia). Remember the regulator who was executed in China for improprieties that in the US would be considered minor thank you

  10. zombieite says:

    That gives new meaning to the term “Fatal Conceit”.

    The idea is that it’s impossible to plan an economy, but that doesn’t stop governments from trying. The poor guy might well have made innocent mistakes that any one of us would have made in that position.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fatal_Conceit

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good luck filling that position!

    “Hi, I’m here for the Chief of Planning and Finance position. Here is my CV.”

    “By the way, why did the previous chief leave?”

    “Ummm….ok, I think I’ll be withdrawing my application now.”

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is how he would have been dealt with in a few countries (mostly in Asia). Remember the regulator who was executed in China for improprieties that in the US would be considered minor? In the US you MIGHT lose you job. In China, you lose your life. And apparently in NK too.

  13. Joe says:

    Next time some spoiled bank CEO complains that people are criticizing him for taking a $10 million bonus paid out of taxpayer money, just point him to this story. Perhaps the North Koreans are a little too harsh, but I wouldn’t mind seeing long prison terms, especially with what we’re learning about the fraud at Lehman Brothers.

  14. sing it, baby says:

    Well, Pak Nam-gi did promise to guide North Korea forward into the eleventh century.

  15. Brad F. says:

    This is what happens when KJI tries to pre-order an iPad and realizes it won’t fit his monthly budget.

  16. Marsha Keeffer says:

    My plans to relocate to Pyongyang are cancelled as of right now.

  17. gman says:

    Yes, guys, because *that’s* what’s been wrong with your country this whole time! That guy, over there. Good thing you got him, now everything will be perfect forever!

  18. nanuq says:

    I hope Ben Bernanke is taking notes here.

  19. KWillets says:

    It wasn’t a devaluation, it was a revaluation combined with confiscation, although making some cash worthless could be considered devaluation.

    The original plan was a 100-1 redenomination, but they decided to restrict the amount that people could exchange to the new currency in order to destroy the merchant class. At the same time they decided to increase workers’ pay at state-owned enterprises, but there were no goods to buy (merchant class), and no one wanted to hold onto the new currency, so prices skyrocketed.

    This link has a good depiction of the increase in prices: http://www.dailynk.com/english/market.php

  20. Antinous / Moderator says:

    …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…

    Hmm. Which one got him executed? Hmm.

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