Camp 14 updates (2016-3-30)

camp-14-overview-2016-9-29

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Kwanliso 14  (Camp 14) outlined in the center and in the upper left a smaller prison camp area I was the first to discover in January 2013.

Google Earth has uploaded new imagery of Camp 14 and an auxiliary prison camp on its northwest border (first noticed in January 2013) whose formal name remains a mystery. The new imagery is dated 2016-3-30 and it shows a number of facility upgrades in the prison camp. These upgrades suggest the camp continues to serve a necessary role for the North Korean government and will probably not be closed for the foreseeable future.

Below I list some of the changes Camp 14. Some of them I have already reported in Radio Free Asia.

New Firing Ranges Constructed/Renovated

 camp-14-firing-range-2016-3-30

Pictured above is a new firing range constructed between 2013-10-1 and 2016-3-30. It is approximately 240m from the firing position to the bulls-eye in the painted hill-side target in the upper left. This firing range has been built near the camp headquarters (coordinates:  39.574979°, 126.047860°). Two other smaller firing ranges have been built/renovated along the western perimeter. One is near the camp entrance at  39.559300°, 126.013005°. The third firing range is not new, but is being renovated at  39.629702°, 126.035436°.

Fish Farms Renovated/Modernized

camp-14-fish-farm-before-2013

camp-14-fish-farm-after-2016

Pictured above is a small fish farm in Camp 14 (Coordinates:  39.606592°, 126.098545°). In the top photo, dated 2013-10-1, we can see the fish farm before renovation. In the lower photo, dated 2016-3-30, we can see it after renovation. Fish farms at  39.600450°, 126.072176° and  39.601567°, 126.051970° have been similarly renovated.

I suspect that fish produced at these farms could be intended as a food source inside the camp for guards and administrators (maybe prisoners?), but they are more likely used as a source of funding to support the camp operations. In this case they would be sold domestically to the official wholesale distribution system and/or to other quasi-private vendors, or sold internationally through a trade company controlled by the Ministry of State Security.

Camp Facilities Upgrades

The headquarters area of the Camp (administered by the Ministry of State Security) has been renovated.

camp-14-mss-hq-2013

camp-14-mss-hq-2016

New Housing Completed and New Facility Under Construction

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housing-new-facility-2016

In the area next to Camp 14, near Tongrim-ri in Kaechon City, we can see a few interesting developments.

tongrim-ri-camp-overview-2016

Pictured above (Google Earth): Tongrim-ri Prison Area (Official name unknown)

New Mining Activity

tongrim-ri-camp-2014

tongrim-ri-camp-2016

In the south east corner of the camp area, a road has been built from the Mujindae Youth Coal Mine (무진대청년탄광) inside the camp security perimeter (yellow line) to promote coal mining. The road allows coal mined inside the camp perimeter to be loaded onto the railway network for domestic or international shipment. 

New Graves

tongrim-graves-2014-4-7

tongrim-new-graves-2016

In the satellite imagery we can see the emergence of some new graves over time. This is unusual. In most North Korean prison camps, identifying graves is not this easy, and rarely are there any traditional Korean graves like these on the hillsides (there are none in Camp 14 as far as I am aware).

What this means about the prison area is an interesting topic of discussion.

Finally, recent satellite imagery of Camp 18, which is believed to have been closed by 2011, indicates that the prison camp may have been relaunched! You can read about it in Radio Free Asia now, and I will post more on that tomorrow (Friday).

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