A key member of Kim Jong Un’s inner circle touted as a powerful military figure mysteriously vanished from public life recently, sparking rumors he was executed by a North Korean death squad after allegations of bribery, recent reports indicated.

Hwang Pyong-so, a vice marshal who held the most senior position in North Korea’s military, hasn’t been seen in public since Oct. 13, sparking rumors of his death.

North Korean vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission Hwang Pyong-so's profile picture is shown in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 30, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.  - S1AETMVAUBAA

North Korean vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission Hwang Pyong-so’s profile picture is shown in this undated photo.  (KCNA via Reuters)

Kim has previously dispatched his enemies via a variety of gruesome methods, including shooting them with anti-aircraft weaponry at a close distance and feeding them to a pack of ravenous dogs.

News about Hwang’s troubles within Kim’s regime emerged in mid-November, when South Korea’s spy agency reported the top aide and his deputy, Kim Won-hong, were expelled from the military’s General Politico Bureau and “punished,” Yonhap News Agency reported.

Vice Marshall Hwang Pyong So (bottom L), in full Korean People?s Army uniform, watches an air show by the Korean People?s Air Force with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) on May 10, 2014 in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Hwang Pyong So, now a top military aide to the North's leader Kim Jong Un, has had an unprecedented rise to the top rungs of North Korea's leadership in the space of a few years. With intense speculation on the whereabouts of Kim after his disappearance from official media for over a month, Hwang is even more in focus.    REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - GM1EAA90O8401

Kim Jong Un, right, and Hwang Pyong-so enjoy watching an air show in 2014.  (KCNA via Reuters)

A rare inspection on the bureau was conducted after reports of “impure attitude” toward the volatile regime. The spy agency said it was looking into details about their punishment.

“If Hwang was indeed kicked out of the Workers’ Party, it would practically mean the end of his political career, and possibly his life, though it is unknown whether or not he is still alive,” South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo reported, according to the Telegraph.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes a memorial picture with attendants at KPA's (Korean People's Army) 7th military education convention, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on November 7, 2015. REUTERS/KCNAATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. - GF20000049331

Kim Jong Un, left, greeting officials with Hwang Pyong-so by his side in 2015.  (Reuters)

Kim Won-hong was reportedly sentenced to one of North Korea’s prison camps. As for Hwang, many of Kim Jong Un’s recent actions indicate the man who the dictator has trusted for about a decade was executed — possibly by the infamous firing squad that also killed Kim’s uncle Jang Song Thaek.

The two officials allegedly had been receiving favors for promotions, the Telegraph reported. Kim ordered the two officials to be punished “as a warning to others.”

Kim’s visit to the country’s Mount Paektu over the weekend hinted at Hwang’s possible execution. Kim usually visits the sacred mountain before he makes a significant decision, much like his father and grandfather had done, Korea Jongang Daily reported.

The leader previously visited the mountain with his aides in November 2013, a month before ordering the deaths of several officials, including Jang, who was branded “worse than a dog” and a “despicable human scum.” The bodies were then lit on fire with flamethrowers.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Mount Paektu in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 9, 2017.  KCNA/via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS - RC14886DA130

Kim Jong Un visited Mount Paektu over the weekend, an indication he may be making a significant decision.  (KCNA via Reuters)

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Kim also made a trip to the mountain before he executed former defense chief Hyon Yong-chol in April 2015.

North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency did not mention Hwang in its statement about Kim’s visit, but said the despot was celebrating his “big achievements in November.”

Hwang rose through the ranks and, in 2014, was named the senior deputy director in the central party, North Korean Leadership Watch reported. South Korean spies believe Kim was pitting Hwang against Choe Ryong-hae, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, to ensure they were forever loyal to the leader, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Courtesy: Fox News

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