SALT LAKE CITY — A South Korean nonprofit group has identified 318 locations in North Korea that the country has used for public executions, according to BBC News.
The nonprofit, the Transitional Justice Working Group, reportedly interviewed more than 600 North Korean defectors over four years to gather this data, which was published on Tuesday in a report titled “Mapping the fate of the dead.”
“Public executions are to remind people of particular policy positions that the state has,” said TJWG research director Sarah A. Son, according to Reuters. “But the second and more powerful reason is it instills a culture of fear among ordinary people.”
The group’s report identifies the locations of hundreds of state-sanctioned executions.
The 318 locations were reportedly “near rivers, fields, markets, schools, and sports grounds,” the group told BBC News.
The report said that groups, sometimes exceeding 1,000 people, flooded the areas to watch the executions.
“The report alleges that family members of those sentenced to death, including children, were sometimes forced to watch the event. The bodies and burial locations of those killed were rarely given to their relatives,” according to BBC News.Comment on this story
According to Reuters, the report found the most common charge against those who were executed was “stealing copper and livestock.” Other charges included “anti-state” activities and leaving North Korea to cross into China.
President Donald Trump said he didn’t know much more about the reports.
“I don’t know if the reports are correct,” Trump said. “They like to blame Kim Jong Un immediately.”