North Korea defector says Kim Jong Un followed out of fear

A defector from North Korea says Kim Jong Un is significantly weaker than portrayed -- despite images broadcast to the world last week of large crowds cheering the tyrant’s fiery rhetoric.

The man, who asked Sky News to hide his identity because his daughter is still inside North Korea and would be in danger if he is recognized, said he wants people to know the truth about life under the Kim regime.

"These civilians, if the government tells them to come, they are gathered by the system, they're forced to come, they don't have the freedom not to," he told Sky News. "I feel sorry for these people, they will all be cannon fodder."

Images of the rally released last week by North Korea’s state media outlet show North Korean workers dressed alike in white button-down shirts and matching red ties, raising banners lauding the North Korean military.

Participants were shown raising their right fists in the air in a public gesture of solidarity with Kim.

"On the surface they look thankful, but none of it is genuine," the defector told Sky News in South Korea.

Even in the hermit country, he said access to information about the outside world was increasing inside North Korea.

"Everyone is aware that there is no other place in the world as poor as North Korea, and that no other country suffers as much as our people do," he said.

"We don't follow the system because we like it, we are only following because we are scared of it," he added.

The suffering in the impoverished kingdom includes those serving in the military, the defector said.

"Even the military people, corporals or captains, I've been to their houses, they are in a poor state," the man told Sky News, adding, "Most people don't have loyalty, honestly."

With living conditions worsening, the defector said many people are criticizing Kim's leadership in private, but afraid to express those views in public.

"If you criticize Kim Jong Un you will go to a prison camp and not come back," he said.

"(In the camps) you are forced to labor and you live a life no better than a dog or a pig," he added. "It is better to die."

A non-governmental organization that researches atrocities in North Korea said public executions in the rouge nation are intended to instill fear of the government, and are meant to be witnessed by as many people as possible.

Hubert Youngwhan Lee, the Transitional Justice Working Group's executive director, told Sky News the regime tends to use certain areas for the gruesome display.

"The most commonly used locations are river banks, under bridges, markets, or even on school grounds, or public stadiums," he said.

Fox News' Cody Derespina contributed to this report.