North Korea authorities “Stop Operating Chinese Motorcycles for Commercial Use”

Daily NK
Kwon Jeong Hyun
11/12/2007

North Korean authorities recently started regulating motorcycle operation in order to control private market.

Motorcycle is most preferred means of transportation especially for North Korean salespersons. And in North Korea, everybody must get a license from the government to operate cars, motorcycles or even bicycles.

North Korean authorities now give license to only Made in DPRK “Bugang Motorcycle,” which is considerably more expensive than those imported from China.

Choi, a 33 years old resident of Sinuiju visiting his relative in Dandong, China, said on last Thursday “getting operator’s license for Made in China motorcycles has become ridiculously difficult.” According to Choi, only domestic motorcycle owners receive license and popular dissatisfaction increased.

It seems that North Korean authorities want to stop growing of private market by making it impossible to operate motorcycle, a vital part of transportation of goods.

Choi added “even before, someone had to bribe police officer to get a license, but now, bribery doesn’t work for Chinese-built motorcycles at all.”

Why people prefer Made in China? “Korean motorcycles manufactured in Pyongyang cost 1,500 US dollars and often break down. However, Chinese ones cost only 600 dollars while perform far better.”

Choi complained that “some people who operated Chinese motorcycle without license got their bikes confiscated.”

The loots were sent to the Army troops on DMZ.

Chinese motorcycle has become prevalent since 2002 when North Korean residents whose relatives lived in China received it as gift and operated for commercial purpose.

According to Choi, “Motorcycle can carry a certain amount of goods to inlands and it is so convenient. Even if motorcycle is expensive, everybody wants to own one. People buy seafood on the coast and bring them to the cities or sell small commodities.”

For alluvial gold, price differs among regions, so transporting it fast with motorcycle is lucrative business.

Lee, defected Pyongyang last year, said “In the past, a few rich people bought used Japanese motorcycles like Honda or Yamaha, but now many people operate Chinese ones for commercial purpose.”

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