The latest unnamed executive was killed after he allegedly took responsibility for setbacks at the Punggye-ri nuclear base, which led to the date of a rocket launch being pushed back.
Five days ago, a high-ranking official once described as the ‘second most powerful man in North Korea’ disappeared from public life, sparking speculation he too may have been executed by death squads.
General Hwang Pyong-so once held the most senior military position in the hermit state as a Vice-Marshall after the supreme leader.
The most recent victim was said to be the director of Bureau 131, in charge of construction at Kim’s missile and nuclear bases.
Back in September, at least 200 workers were reportedly killed when a tunnel collapsed shortly after the detonation of an H-bomb.
It has been claimed the nuclear base, situated in the North Korean mountains, is falling into disrepair after being struck by earthquakes and landslides due to repeated nuke blasts.
A source told Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun: “It seems he took the blame as the prolonged mining of the nuclear facility pushed back the test date to September when it was initially set for spring.”
Kim has executed more than 340 people since he came to power – and that doesn’t include untold numbers sent to gulags or labour camps.
The so-called tubby tyrant is said to have been reshaping North Korea’s ruling elite in recent months as he fears the military is becoming too powerful.
He has also launched dozens of missiles this year, as well as detonating the hydrogen bomb on September 3.
Earlier this month Kim was pictured on top of a mountain he previously ‘climbed’ before executing top officials – sparking fears he was about to do the same again.
The tyrant visited the significant Mount Paektu, seen as mystical and situated not far from North Korea’s nuclear testing facilities, where Kim goes to make important decisions.
In 2016 he was pictured on the mountain before carrying out a huge nuclear test.
In April 2015 he visited the mountain then executed former defence chief Hyon Yong-chol.
In November 2013 he visited the mountain before killing uncle and political guardian Jang Song-thaek.