Was Kim Jong-Un's Uncle Eaten By Starving Dogs?

Is there any truth to reports saying Kim Jong-un executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek by feeding Jang to starving dogs?
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 03, 2014

There are reports North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un might have executed his uncle by stripping him naked and feeding him to 120 starving dogs. The unconfirmed story is coming from a Hong Kong-based newspaper.

According to Wen Wei Po, Jang Song Thaek and his five closest aides were "completely eaten up" last month by hunting dogs that had been starved for days. (Via ITN)

The paper claims Kim Jong-un and his brother supervised the hour-long execution along with 300 other North Korean officials. (Via Wen Wei Po)

We do know Jang, who was once one of the most powerful men in North Korea, was executed in December 2013 after apparently being found guilty of trying to overthrow the state. (Via Euronews)

But is there any truth to this gruesome new rumor about how he was killed? The answer: Probably not.

Why? Well, first of all, as Business Insider points out, pro-Beijing Wen Wei Po isn't exactly well-known for its credibility.

And there are numbers to prove it. According to a media credibility study conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the paper came in as one of the least-trusted publications in Hong Kong, ranked above only three others. (Via South China Morning Post)

Perhaps what's even more fishy is the paper reportedly first published the article about Jang's violent execution on Dec. 12 — weeks before it went viral in the U.S.

And the fact both the Chinese and South Korean media outlets haven't done anything with the claim since it came out is a little suspicious, too. (Via Fox News)

Another thing to consider is many rumors that come out of North Korea in the past have been hard to verify.

There aren't many foreign journalists inside the country. In fact, the Associated Press is the only Western news agency that has a bureau there. (Via BBC)

So, with good reason, many experts tread lightly when dealing with sensational stories such as this one. 

NK News' Chad O'Carroll spoke to a number of North Korea experts on the article. Results were mixed, although many agreed more information is needed before the world can determine what happened to Jang.

But the question of why this story spread like wildfire in the American media Friday still remains.

According to The Washington Post, it's a common occurrence: "This seems to be a problem particular to stories out of North Korea, about which almost any story is treated as broadly credible, no matter how outlandish or thinly sourced. There's no other country to which we bring such a high degree of gullibility."