03/01/2014 05:07 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 08:17 GMT

Was Kim Jong Un's Uncle Jang Song Thaek Executed By A Pack Of Starving Dogs?

Last month it emerged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s “traitor” uncle Jang Song Thaek was executed, after being accused of plotting against the regime.

Jang's death was announced via a state news agency on 13 December.

The release from the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK described him as “despicable human scum, who was worse than a dog” and confirmed his execution – assumed, though not specified to have been via firing squad.

jang song thaek

A man watches a live TV news program showing Kim Jong Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek being escorted by military officers during a trial in Pyongyang, North Korea, on 12 December

But now, a report has emerged claiming Jang, along with his five closest aides, were actually killed after being stripped naked, thrown into a cage and set upon by 120 starving dogs.

It was first published in Hong Kong-based pro-China newspaper Wen Wei Po, and was picked up by the Straits Times on 24 December.

It describes the process of execution by dogs as “quan jue”, stating it lasted an hour and was personally overseen by the North Korean leader.

While the report cannot be independently confirmed, some claim its source "has acted as a mouthpiece" for China's Communist Party" and others have questioned whether the country is using the newspaper to spread anti-North Korea propaganda.

SEE ALSO: North Korea Cannibalism Fears Amid Reports Famine-Stricken Citizens 'Forced To Dig Up Corpses & Eat Their Children'

The Straits Times adds: “The horrifying report vividly depicted the brutality of the young North Korean leader. The fact that it appeared in a Beijing-controlled newspaper showed that China no longer cares about its relations with the Kim regime.”

It also claims “the official litany of Jang’s treason (which can be read in full here) implicated China three times.”

Jang's execution - determined by a specially-convened military tribunal - is the first public killing of a senior official in many years and prompted South Korean President Park Guen-Hye to say the South feared a wave of purges would follow.

"North Korea is now engaged in a reign of terror while carrying out a massive purge to consolidate the power of Kim Jong Un," she told a cabinet meeting.