'South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that the co-ordinated public executions took place in seven separate cities earlier this month.
In one case, the local authorities rounded up 10,000 people, including children, and forced them to watch, it reported.
Those put to death were found guilty by the state of minor misdemeanors, including watching videos of South Korean television programmes or possessing a Bible.
Sources told the paper that witnesses saw eight people tied to stakes in the Shinpoong Stadium, in Kangwon Province, before having sacks placed over their heads and being executed by soldiers firing machineguns.
"I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were so riddled by machinegun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards," the source said.'