“Portrait of a family at war: Kim Jong Il purges relatives after alleged coup bid,” by Jasper Becker, The Independent, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/story.jsp?story=596607, 29 December 2004 (from Democratic Underground).
Kim Jong Il is imprisoning those closest to him
North Korea’s Kim Jong Il has purged some of his closest relatives, accusing them of trying to seize power, reports in Beijing and Seoul said.
The purge began some months ago when Kim Jong Il put his brother-in-law, Chang Song-taek, under house arrest along with 80 other officials and their family members. Many have reportedly been sent to North Korea’s Gulag in the largest purge in a decade.
But me may have god reasons to be afraid
A trickle of reports coming out of North Korea paint a picture of a regime in its dying days, with leading members of the ruling family at each other’s throats.
Government sources in Seoul said Austrian intelligence was reported to have foiled an attempt last month to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, when he was visiting the country. Austria’s Foreign Ministry has denied the story.
Another report circulating in Seoul says that in September Kim Jong Il’s sister, Kim Kyong-hee, was seriously injured in a traffic accident, which is assumed to have been an attempt on her life.
Let’s hope they kill each other off… or that someone else saves them the trouble
Not long after the purge, Kim Jong Il paid an official visit to China and, around the time of his return, there was a huge train explosion at Ryonchon, close to the Chinese border. Official reports said it was an accident and that Kim’s train had passed through hours before, but there are persistent rumours that he escaped by only 20 minutes. Whatever the truth, diplomatic sources say Kim has been treating the train explosion as an attempt to kill him. He has dismissed senior officials responsible for his safety, including the interior minister in charge of internal security, and ordered the confiscation of all mobile phones in May this year. A mobile phone is thought to have been used to set off the explosion.
Even if it is the People’s Liberation Army
But with the re-election of George W Bush, Kim Jong Il has little realistic chance of realising his hopes, and there are growing signs that even China is beginning to lose patience with him. Beijing has moved some 60,000 troops from the Shenyang garrison to the border in case it needs to intervene.
Chinese sources also claim a growing flight of senior and middle-ranking officials and generals, with one report alleging as many as 130 generals have sought refuge in China.