Drugs in Steam Baths, Even Prostitution Taking Place

Daily NK
Kim Min Se

A counselor of Korean Association against Drug Abuse, Lee Mee Young said, “Drugs are a snare of destruction which give huge suffering to addicts themselves, families, relatives, and neighbors.”

Such drug addicts are rapidly increasing in North Korea. Misuse of drugs with the spread to average civilians as well as the newly rich upper class has become very serious.

Situation #1. Handle drugs due to stress.

Hong Mun Hwa (pseudonym), who became wealthy all of a sudden by acquiring a large sum of money from North and Chinese trade in Chongjin, was a man who was faithful to his family. Three years ago, Mr. Hong started backsliding when he put his hands on Philopon (called “ice” in North Korea).

Jung Myung Ki (pseudonym), brother-in-law of Mr. Hong, said, “Ever since he started touching drugs, his business also became ruined. Mr. Hong was not able to keep appointments and his eye for business became totally went downhill. He turned into a stupid person.”

The story Mr. Jung revealed was this.

“I realized that my brother-in-law was addicted to drugs when I rode together with him a year ago from Chongjin to Shinuiju. Of course, I knew that most people who have money do drugs, but I was frankly quite surprised that a good person such as my brother-in-law became addicted. He ultimately died from a heart attack due to drugs. I even hid the fact from his wife that he was addicted to drugs until after his death.”

However, Mr. Hong, who started drugs at his first try, was gradually dissatisfied with Philopon alone, so started trying “pills” (heroine). According to Mr. Jung, Mr. Hong, in the course of the trade car ride from Chongjin to Shinujui, took Philopon at 5~8 hour increments.

Mr. Hong died from heart attack at the beginning of June in Shinujui, saying, “I will try to make up for lost sleep” and took a large quantity of “pills.”

Situation #2: Taking drugs in private steam baths…even prostitution

The evil influence of drugs in Hamheung, relayed by North Korean civilian Kim Myung Gil (pseudonym), who came to China from Hamheung to visit relatives, is even more shocking. Hamheung is the mass production center of Philopon.

Mr. Kim said, “People who are selling Philopon by trade and are making a living is increasing in Hamheung. The mother of a middle school classmate sold Philopon and even though she initially earned money, the mother and my friend both became addicted later. Not only my peer, but there are many cases where families had to scatter and sell their houses due to drug addiction.”

According to Mr. Kim, the steam bath business is currently booming in Hamheung.

In the steam bath, electricity comes on for 24 hours. Electricity is transferred via a power cable which is connected by giving a bribe to the power distribution plant. Mostly, there are private baths or rooms in the steam baths, and inhalation and prostitution are supposed to take place here. If one gives money to the steam bath operators, then they provide Philopon and even bring a female prostitute.

He said, “One does not have to show his or her citizen card when entering the steam bath and do not need to leave their names, so it is an ideal place for delinquent men and women to do drugs.”

The inspection unit haphazardly handles situation while taking bribes…decrees repeat, “Absolutely Executions”

The current North Korean government has not come up with a way regarding the civilians’ drug sales and taking dosages. Occasionally, the Party issues the decree and inspection unit to prevent drug sales and usage, but they have not been able to exterminate drug deals.

Mr. Kim said, “The Party issued the order last year to capture drug offenders and carry into execution, but even they sweep matters under the table upon receiving bribes.”

He added, “If inspection occurs because drug smugglers earn such a significant amount of money, then the dealers give 3,000~5,000 dollars worth of money at one time. Even if inspection units have come down from the Party, people are easily won over if they receive such a large sum of money.”

Kim Jung Ae (pseudony), Korean-Chinese businesswoman who goes to Pyongyang and Shinuijui often said North Korea’s drug offense regulations cannot be known.”

Mr. Kim said, “In China, a rule exists which decrees drug sales or possessions over 20g to be punishable by death. However, North Korea does not seem to have a regulation about the exact number of grams of possessions or sales which are punishable.”

He explained, “In order to control drugs, punishment has to differ for one-time usage, two-time usage and above, and the amount of grams of possessions or sales. However, because North Korea repeats every time it announces a decree, “A person who makes or sells drugs is punishable by death,” “we cannot kill all drug takers and proper regulation cannot even be carried out.”

Mr. Kim lamented, “If detailed laws regarding the North Korean government’s strong will for regulation is not made, the evil influence of the citizens’ drug use cannot help but to increase at a fast speed.”


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