North Korea executed nine music group performers in an apparent attempt to squelch rumors leaking that the wife of leader Kim Jong Un might once have led a provocative lifestyle.
The information comes from a high-ranking North Korean government official who recently defected.
According to sources, both the Japanese and South Korean governments have confirmed the veracity of the report.
Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju, was a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra before she married him in June 2012.
The scandal involves members of the orchestra and the Wangjaesan Art Troupe. The nine were suspected of producing and appearing in a pornographic video.
Officials of the Ministry of People's Security wiretapped conversations among the nine individuals and overheard one say, "In the past, Ri Sol Ju used to play around in the same manner as we did."
Kim became concerned that rumors about his wife might spread. On Aug. 17, the nine were arrested. Three days later, they were executed by firing squad at a training ground of the Kang Gon Military Academy on the outskirts of Pyongyang.
High-ranking officials of the military, the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, as well as other members of the two music groups, witnessed the executions.
Family members of the nine individuals were sent to political prison camps and the two music groups were disbanded.
The scandal apparently stems from an order given by Kim on June 4 that banned the viewing of obscene materials.
The two music groups were established under orders of the late Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's father. The groups mainly performed at meetings attended by the North Korean elite.
The two musical groups have not appeared in official North Korean media since early August. Downloading of music by the two groups from a video company that uses a computer server outside of North Korea has been blocked.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who visited North Korea earlier in September, revealed that he held the baby daughter of Kim Jong Un and Ri Sol Ju. Rodman said the baby's name was "Ju-ae."
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