World Bulletin / News Desk
Local news agency Yonhap cited the official as saying that Kim Yong-jin, 63, was shot by firing squad last month after being accused of “showing a bad attitude” during a parliamentary meeting in late June.
Since Kim Jong-un succeeded his father at the end of 2011, more than 100 government and military officials are believed to have been executed, including his once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who was accused of treason.
Last year, then defense chief Hyon Yong-chol was reportedly executed by an anti-aircraft gun for defying undisputed leader Kim Jong-un -- released images showed him asleep during a meeting presided over by Kim.
The Seoul official said Wednesday that two other officials had been punished.
Kim Yong-chol, 71, who heads the United Front Department responsible for inter-Korean affairs, was reportedly subjected to one month of reeducation at a rural farm last month after he was accused of abuse of power and showing a "heavy-handed" attitude.
Meanwhile, a vice department director of the ruling party's central committee, 62-year-old Choe Hwi, has been receiving reeducation in a rural area since May for “mishandling of the party's work on agitation and propaganda”, according to the official.
Defectors have regularly spoken of public executions in an authoritarian state ruled by the Kim family since being founded following Korea’s division in the wake of World War II.
Earlier this month, Seoul confirmed that a senior North Korean diplomat -- Thae Yong-ho, second-in-command at Pyongyang's embassy in Britain -- was now being offered protection in South Korea along with his immediate family.
The 55-year-old is reportedly the son of a four-star general who campaigned against Japanese occupation during the 1930s -- adding to the blow dealt to Pyongyang by losing a high-ranking official to defection.
The North -- which has been operating under strengthened economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council after its fourth nuclear test in January -- appears to be struggling to maintain order among supposedly loyal subjects posted abroad
Late last month, Yonhap cited sources “familiar with the matter” as saying that North Korea publicly executed six officials deemed responsible for the escape of overseas workers to South Korea earlier this year.
The executions are said to have taken place in May, a month after 13 restaurant staff members fled their post in China.