South Korea says 'aware' of executions of North's musicians
SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's spy chief has said he is "aware" of the alleged execution of members of the North's national orchestra, said to include a singer rumoured to be leader Kim Jong Un's former girlfriend.
Several members of the orchestra and other state music troupes had been executed by firing squad for taping themselves having sex, Japan's Asahi Shimbun said last month in a report that was picked up by South Korean broadcasters and websites.
Asahi said the rare execution of state performers - including a woman thought to be Mr Kim's ex-girlfriend - in August had been ordered to squash rumours about the decadent lifestyle of North Korean first lady Ri Sol Ju while she was an entertainer.
North Korea has angrily denied reports of the executions, calling the media accounts an "unpardonable" crime.