Rare photos of North Korean 'purge'

Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
Jang Song Thaek being forcibly removed by uniformed personnel from a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.
North Korea ousted Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, for what it described as a slew of criminal acts, confirming the spectacular downfall of the once second most powerful man in the reclusive state.
North Korea ousted Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, for what it described as a slew of criminal acts, confirming the spectacular downfall of the once second most powerful man in the reclusive state.

North Korean state television (KRT) has shown pictures of Kim Jong Un's ousted uncle being forcibly removed from a meeting by uniformed personnel.

KRT ran a slideshow of photographs to accompany the story of the Workers' Party politburo assembly meeting on Sunday.

One of the frames showed Jang Song Thaek, the ousted uncle of leader Kim Jong Un, being taken away from the meeting by what appears to be uniformed guards.

State news agency KCNA said Jang, the second-most powerful man in the country, had been dismissed for what it described as a slew of criminal acts including corruption and womanising.

Earlier, Jang appeared to have been airbrushed out of a TV documentary about Kim Jong Un.

State TV broadcast the documentary had already been aired nine times, but this time Jang appeared in different positions to make his face invisible or entire scenes were re-edited to remove him, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

Jang is married to Kim's aunt, the daughter of the North's founding leader Kim Il Sung, and was widely considered to be working to ensure his nephew firmly established his grip on power in the past two years.

It is still unclear which of his high-level titles, including vice chairman of the powerful National Defence Commission and membership in the ruling Workers' Party politburo, might have been taken away.

But a South Korean official said he was probably alive and in no immediate physical danger, as was his wife, Kim Kyong Hui.

Jang has been a prominent fixture in many of the reports and photographs of Kim Jong Un's public activities, but his appearances have tapered off sharply this year and he has not been since in official media since early November.

- Agencies