'Kim Jong-un fed uncle to dogs' myth started by satirical tweet
Reports that Kim Jong-un fed his uncle to a pack of dogs, which were taken seriously by some, originated from a spoof tweet
11:55AM GMT 06 Jan 2014
A bizarre media frenzy over reports thatNorth Koreanleader Kim Jong Un's uncle had been executed by throwing him to a pack of dogs appears to have originated as satire on a Chinese microblogging website.
The story, which spread like wildfire after it was picked up by a Hong Kong-based newspaper, has created an image that Pyongyang's young ruler is even more brutal and unpredictable than previously believed.
While North Korea has said it purged and executed Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, last month, it did not release details of how the man who was once the second most powerful figure in the isolated country was killed.
Initial speculation was that Jang had been killed by firing squad, a fate that media outlets said was the usual one reserved for "traitors"
But an alternative narrative of the 67-year old's death emerged on what appears to have been a satirical post on the Chinese Tencent Weibo site that has been repeated by many media outlets worldwide.
The December 11 post on Tencent Weibo said Jang and five aides were killed by dogs.
The post records that it was viewed 290,000 times.
The Hong Kong-basedWen Wei Ponewspaper released an article and a screenshot of the Weibo post which it used to justify its report that Jang had been torn apart.
Its report was in turn picked up 12 days later by the Singapore-basedStraits Timesand then by a wide range of US and European media from print to television.
Because of the lack of first hand information, many lurid stories about the country gain credence.