According to Japanese media outlet Asahi Shimbun, a source told them Tuesday that Pyongyang's September 15 Hwasong-12 ballistic missile test was supposed to take place in the spring but was delayed by tunnel construction, and that the officer in charge had been put to death over the slowdown. The officer in question was the head of North Korea's 131 Training Unity Guidance Bureau, the Korea Times reports, and was charged with maintaining defense facilities in Punggye-ri and the missile launch site in Dongchang-ri.
Last week, South Korean news outlets reported that 72-year-old General Hwang Pyong-so was presumed to have been executed as well, at the instruction of North Korean leadership, for "impure behavior" (assumed by reports to mean bribery or corruption) that led to his exile from the nation's ruling party. Hwang was formerly the director general of the General Political Bureau, which South Korean sources said would have made him "the second most powerful man in North Korea."
"If Hwang was indeed kicked out of the Workers' Party, it would practically mean the end of his political career, and possibly his life, though it is unknown whether or not he is still alive," JoonAng Ilbo reported.
South Korean intelligence reports have indicated that North Korean executions have been carried out ruthlessly, sometimes employing packs of dogs or anti-aircraft guns, Sputnik News reported.