Arbitrary Rule

SEOUL, March 18, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea has executed a top financial official blamed for a bungled currency revaluation that triggered chaos in the communist state, South Korean news reports said Thursday. The redenomination last November 30 forced people to swap old banknotes for new at a rate of 100 to one, but restricted the amount that could be exchanged.

It was widely seen as another attempt to crack down on the burgeoning free-market economy, but backfired disastrously according to numerous reports.

Savings were wiped out, prices soared and distribution networks were disrupted, aggravating hunger. NIS chief Won Sei-Hoon has been quoted as saying that the revaluation sparked riots which were later suppressed.

The regime was forced to suspend its campaign to shut down private markets and the prime minister made a rare apology for the chaos.

Yonhap said the regime executed Pak as public anger had derailed a propaganda campaign to promote ailing leader Kim Jong-Il’s youngest son Jong-Un as eventual successor.

“All the blame has been poured on Pak after the currency reform failure exacerbated public sentiment and had a bad effect” on the succession plan, one source was quoted as s