Kim Cheak Iron and Steel Complex operations suspended

From the Daily NK:

Workers secretively selling iron pigs in order to live

It has been discovered, that the most of Kim Cheak Iron and Steel Complex Operations in Chongjin, North Korea are in a crisis of suspension.

In a recent newsletter, Good Friends, a support organization for North Korea explained that “Equipment had severely deteriorated and original resources such as coal and coxtan are not supplied.”

As a result the rationing, workers meagerly received was ceased and living conditions became even harder.

Kim Cheak Iron and Steel Complex Operations has approximately 50,000 workers and is a special complex where people are stationed for 3 months for discipline and reform. However as factory operations decline, a situation is occurring where most of the workers steal the iron pigs and sell them for a living.

Men cannot really come forward to do this work and so wives are taking direct action. In order to obtain the iron pigs, a river in front of the complex 100m in width, must be crossed numerously throughout the night.

The newsletter reported that the iron pigs sell for 200~240won per 1kg, and if you are having a lucky day and obtain 80kg, an income of about 16,000~20,000won($5.3~6.7) can be earned in one night.

If protection or inspection officers are bribed, more iron pigs can be acquired by transporting them by bicycle. But, even if you manage to cross the dangerous river at high tide it is easy for other protection or inspection officers to catch you.

The newsletter reported that if a person is caught 1~2 times, the penalty is a fine and if caught more than 2~3 times, forceful punishment in addition to a fine is given. However, it is unlikely that this larcenous act will stop as selling stolen iron pigs is a way of earning money, even if one is caught and has to pay a fine.

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