The manager of a terrapin farm in North Korea has reportedly been executed for failing to adequately supply the animals’ tanks with enough food and water which lead to the death of many baby terrapins.
Kim Jong-un visited the Taedonggang Terrapin Farm in May he criticised the officials at the farm for their failure to keep the tanks adequately supplied, the Daily NK reports.
The manager attempted to explain to Mr Kim that the lack of supply was due to issues with the electricity, water and equipment.
Mr Kim dismissed these causes as “nonsensical complaints”.
At the time, North Korea’s official media outlet reported that Mr Kim had been upset at the farm’s failure to breed freshwater lobsters from a number of crustaceans that had been delivered to the farm two years previously.
The official report issued after Mr Kim’s inspection had put the workers’ failings down to a “manifestation of incompetence, outmoded way of thinking and irresponsible work style”.
It is understood that the manager was shot shortly after this visit, the Daily NK reports, citing multiple sources.
The bizarre story sounds even too extreme for the heavy-handed and authoritarian North Korean state, but Professor Remco Breuker, an expert in Korean studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, told The Independent that it's likely the story is true.
"There's a good chance this happened," he said.
"It's obviously very extreme and sounds unthinkable, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen."
While it is difficult to verify North Korean news stories due to the nation's closed and secretive nature, Professor Breuker said he was confident that this particular report is true.
One source from inside the country said: “Some parts of the farm weren’t able to receive water in a timely manner because of the lack of electricity. That fact in conjunction with the food shortages caused all the baby terrapins in the facility to die."
“Because it was the babies that ended up dying and not the adult ones, had someone within the ranks tried, the manager probably would have evaded execution,” the source said, though they added that the execution likely would have happened either way in order to “set an example”.
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