13 May 2015

North Korea Defence chief 'executed'

3:07 pm on 13 May 2015

North Korea's Defence Minister Hyon Yong-chol has been executed, South Korea's spy agency has told parliament, according to media reports.

Hyon Yong-chol

Hyon Yong-chol Photo: AFP

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that MPs were told Mr Hyon had been killed on 30 April by anti-aircraft fire in front of an audience.

He is believed to have been accused of showing disloyalty to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un.

Reports from North Korea are impossible to independently confirm.

There were few details of the reported execution, but Yonhap - quoting South Korea's National Intelligence Agency briefing - said Mr Hyon had fallen asleep during an event attended by Kim Jong-un.

Mr Hyon is believed to have been a general since 2010, though little is known about him. He served on the committee for late leader Kim Jong-il's funeral in December 2011, an indication of his growing influence.

He became defence minister in 2012 following a purge which saw several senior officials executed.