In what is being called a glimpse of terror produced by Kim Jong-un’s purge of North Korean leadership, the country's army politburo chief Hwang Pyong-so was spotted “looking petrified” on state television after he realized he was walking a step ahead of his leader during a military ceremony.
The Chosun Ilbo – one of the major newspapers in South Korea – reports the footage is from April when Army chief Hyon Yong-chol was allegedly executed with an anti-aircraft gun for spying, talking back to him and sleeping during a meeting presided over by the young dictator.
Hwang Pyong-so was recently promoted to a member of the politburo presidium of the Workers' Party of Korea, making him the second-most powerful man in the Hermit Kingdom.
However, his high ranking apparently doesn’t give him immunity from fear.
The North Korean Central TV broadcast released footage that purportedly shows how Hwang extended his arms to guide the North Korean leader ahead after discovering he was standing in front of Kim.
The South Korean publication further cited an anonymous source, according to which “Army Chief Ri Yong-ho was purged back in 2012, just after Kim stepped into power, because he stood in line next to Kim when they paid a visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun."
However, the story could also turn out to be just another rumor. In December 2013, a Hong Kong tabloid reported that Kim Jong-un executed his uncle Jang Song-thaek by having him stripped naked and fed to a pack of starving dogs. That news later turned out to be a hoax.