Stop Illegal Trade! Rations Will Begin April

Daily NK
Han Young Jin

North Korean inside source informed that authorities had been asserting control over illegal selling and use of mobile phones at the markets near the border regions. National Security Agents have also been conducting in-depth investigations on illegal acts such as drug smuggling and slave trade.

In a telephone conversation with a reporter on the 28th, Park Jong Run (pseudonym) of Musan, North Hamkyung said, “Authorities came to the People’s Units and said furtively, ‘Rations will be distributed in April. In future, you will live a good life. So, stop engaging in illegal trade.’ Why would we listen to them when they tell us to stop selling especially since they aren’t going to give us distributions anyway?”

Park relayed, “They said, don’t sell our confidential information about our country through the mobile phone. People already in possession of mobile phones will be forgiven if they self-confess at the National Security Agency.” Since last year, North Korean authorities have been keeping a close watch on mobile phone use particularly in the border regions.

He said, “They threaten us with a declaration, so that we will report cases of illegality or corruption such as slave trade and drug trade.” For example, large amounts of drugs were found in the home of a Chairwoman for the Women’s Union of Hoiryeong City, late February.

According to Park, authorities will directly carry out the procedures at Jangmadang (markets) themselves, with assistance from Hoiryeong Security Agency and various police departments. Some goods found to be linked to illegal trade are in part taken away by the sudden wave of control. In particular, these authorities have a keen eye for goods made overseas such as Chinese items.

National Security Agents and the police confiscate the items arguing that, “now we have a gap between the rich and poor, as well as the richer getting richer and vice versa, because you, tradesmen have tasted some money. Now, socialism has been infected by capitalism.” However, even the security agents are acting tactful by removing only some of the goods as a mere example of punishment.

Goods confiscated are locked up at the security agency and kept in provision. The endless lines in the waiting rooms of the security agency make up the people ready to pay a fine and recollect their items, says Park. Nonetheless, security agents are reluctant to return the goods back to the traders and so bribes must be ready at hand also.

“I barely got my goods back after bribing them with 10 packets of cigarettes, but there was only half the goods left remaining in the bundle” Park criticized and said that the security agents sarcastically remarked, ‘Hey, let us eat and live a little.”

Following the nuclear experiment, authorities have been trying to gather regime support and elevate the nation’s pride arguing the nation had become a strong militaristic country. They proclaim, “The world is cooperating with us and is throwing their goods at us. In future, you will live well.” It will be difficult for North Korean authorities to prohibit trade, especially with the people’s strong will power to make money.


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