Japanese claim they have proved DPRK counterfitting smokes…

From the Daily NK:

On the 15th, Tokyo Shinbun reported that “At the inspection on board by Japanses Maritime Safety Department, it has been confirmed that fake Japanese cigarettes produced in North Korea have been delivered to South Korea and Taiwan”.

Although the US has recently announced that the most profit-making illegal activity that North Korea is involved in is production of fake cigarettes, it is the first time that physical evidence is obtained.

Japanese Maritime Safety Department analyzed the testimony of the crew and information obtained by reconnaissance satellite, and concluded that ships dock at Wonsan, Chongjin and Najin to leave with fake cigarettes. It is suspected that the goods are transferred to ships that belong to Taiwanses or South Korean mafia on the sea of Taiwan or Busan.

There are tens of different kinds of fake cigarettes, including Japanese such as Mild Seven, Seven Star and American, such as Marlboro.

Production of Fake Cigarettes started with Growing Opium

When and how did production of fake cigarettes start?

It is almost the time of order to “grow poppy” by Kim Jong Il in November 1992 that production of fake cigarettes started.

At the time, much effort was put into creating a cigarette-production base in North Hamkyung Province. Grain Factory at Hoeryong changed its name to ‘Hoeryong Food United Company’ and the cigarette factory under it was expanded. After 1994, soldiers discharged from their duty were put into ‘4.25 farm’ where they produced the raw material for cagarettes. 4.25 farm was built where #22 political prison camp used to be, in Changpyong, Hoiryeong City.

The area centered around 4.25 farm is known for the good quality of cigarettes in North Hamkyung Province. Especially, “Poisonous” cigarette (contains high nicottine) in Ryonggye, Saebyul, near 4.25 farm is known to be the best of the best.

The average cigarette in South Korea “THIS” has 0.65mg of Nicottine, while the ‘poisonous cigarette’ has about 1.5mg. Even a habitual smoker needs to mix in tobacco. Well-known tobacco is produced in Yunsa, North Hamkyung Province.

The poisonous cigarette from 4.25 farm and tobacco from Yunsa have potential to be the raw material for high quality cigarette such as Mild Seven and Seven Star. However, it seems that it has been hard to produce high quality fake. It has been heard that raw material is imported from foreign countries.

“North Korea Is Fit For Production of Fake Cigarettes”

North Korea is fit for production of fake cigarettes in terms of domestic and international environment. In other countries including China, production of fake goods is strictly controlled and is illegal. However, it is not so in North Korea. A brandname for North Korean cigarette ‘Sweetbrier’ produced in Pyongyang factory is also made in Soonchun cigarette factory in South Pyongan Province and other thousands of domestic factories.

Domestic factory means a co-op where goods are produced using the leftovers from factories. Kim Jong Il started the movement on 3 August 1984, which is why the movement is called ‘August the 3rd Movement for Production of Goods By The People”.

In North Korea, the order from Kim Jong Il turned itself into a commercial activity where fake goods are produced and sold to the people. Accordingly, production and transaction of fake goods are not illegal in North Korea.

Main customer for the fake cigarettes is foreign small and middle scale businesses. Especially in China, as the regulation has gotten stricter, the fake cigarette producing factories turned to North Korea. North Korea smuggled machines and raw materials from China to cigarette factoriesin places such as Pyongyang and Hoeryong to produce fake cigarettes.

Production of Fake Cigarettes Was Run By the Government From The Beginning

North Korea supplies labor and factory, while Chinese companies took charge of supply of raw material and circulation. It is hard for fake cigarettes to be circulated through legal procedure. Therefore, the deal needs to be made with international mafia.

The analysis coincides with the testimony of a North Korean defector (51) who has delivered raw material for cigarette from foreign countries to Pyongyang cigarette factory. He did not want to reveal his identity, but he said he clearly saw a cigarette paper and packs with foreign language on them in 1996.

Japanese Maritime Safety Department said North Korea started producing fake cigarette when it became difficult for them to produce and smuggle stimulants such as opium, which is not a correct analysis.

Production of cigarette in North Korea started when Kim Jong Il order to grow poppy in November 1992. Production of cigarette was not started in order to replace the production of opium, but was managed by the government from the beginning.


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