Jang Sung-taek in an undated photo. (File photo/Xinhua)
Jang Sung-taek, the uncle-in-law of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was arrested by Kim Jong-un's second eldest brother Kim Jong-chul, reports Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po, citing the chairman for Seoul's North Korea Strategy Information Service Center Lee Yun-keol.
The South Korean intelligence agency first reported that Jang, who was vice chairman of the country's National Defense Commission, had been removed from his post on Dec. 3 and he has not been seen in public following the execution of two of his associates, Lee Yong-ha and Jang Soo-kee, in November.
Lee Yun-keol claims that Kim Jong-chul personally lead the arrest against Jang, who was once second only to the supreme leader. "In fact, even Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae would not dare to carry out the arrest. Kim Jong-un's own second oldest brother Kim Jong-chul ordered the guards to complete the arrest in the end," he said.
Kim Jong-un, in a move to consolidate his power following the death of his father Kim Jong-il two years ago, asked his brother to carry out the arrests of those who are against him, the paper said.
According to the North Korean state news agency KCNA, Jang was publicly expelled from the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on Dec. 8 for "committing anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts, harboring politically-motivated ambitions, weakening the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies, and obstructing the nation's economic affairs, as well as having a capitalist way of living, including illicit affairs with women."
Our sister paper Want Daily also reported that Jang had been planning to groom Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's eldest brother, as a replacement for the young leader. Observers now believe Kim Jong-nam may become the next target of the purge.