Drugs Stashed Away at a Foreigners Casino in Yangkang Hotel

Daily NK
Kwon Jeong Hyun

Drug dealings have been occurring frequently amongst North Korea’s wealthy class which has led to an increase in people “taking medicine” an inside source recently informed.

Further, an underground casino for foreigners at Yangkag Hotel, Pyongyang, is known to have been openly circulating drugs. Yangkag Hotel is an elite hotel and was built in 1995 in co-partnership with France. Currently, the hotel operates a casino used by foreigners.

The source informed on the 30th, “Drug dealers directly approach the wealthy class who live around the borders of North Korea-China” and revealed, “People fall for the dealer’s trap and hence the number of addicted drug sellers and wealthy class is increasing.”

A few North Korean tradesmen even testified that a large number of the rich living in the border regions of North Korea, have in fact dealt with drugs in one form or another. Apparantly, about 3 out of 10 rich persons in North Korea have had some experiences with drugs and most of the long-distance drivers in North Korea take drugs.

One North Korean tradesman ‘H’ revealed, “Drug dealers con North Koreans with money by saying that the ‘medicine’ clears the head and acts as an aphrodisiac by giving you strength. Then they let the buyers taste-test the drug for free.” H said, “After a few times, the majority of these people become addicted and the dealer sets up a relationship to sell the drug for a long time.”

‘J’ who lives around the border regions expressed the seriousness of the drug issue by telling his own story. Through North Korea-China trade, J’s brother-in-law had accumulated a lot of wealth. One morning without any warning, he suddenly died in which J had thought was a hart attack. However, he later found out from his sister that drugs had been the cause.

For the past 2 years, J’s brother-in-law had been earning money and also spending it on drugs. He tried to quit on numerous occasions but was unable to escape from the persistent temptation by the drug dealer. As time passed, the symptoms of an addict surfaced which ultimately led to a drug overdose and death.

J said, “Never in my dreams could I have imagined that a good person like my brother-in-law would become a drug addict. Though authorities are enforcing regulations and punishment on the misuse of drugs, the problem is that there are no specific penalties or laws. If this keeps going, things could get worse.”

The source said, “North Korean authorities have made numerous decrees on various occasions stating that they will toughen punishment. But there are no specific rules or law and so there is no control over the offenders.” The source added, “The truth is, it will be difficult to penalize everyone according to the decrees set as many people throughout the regions of North Korea are now using drugs including the rich living in the cities.”

On the other hand, the district of Hamheung is receiving much focus as it is known to be the base for drug manufacture. Drugs sold on the black-market in Pyongyang, Chongjin and Shinuiju are considered of high quality and receive utmost trust if the drugs have been made in Hamheung.

Hamheung’s history dates back to when the chemical industry was first booming in North Korea. As a result, North Korea authorities began to produce medicinal drugs to attract more foreign currency. When the economic situation worsened, workers and the elite were known to have stashed drugs secretly in order to make money.

In addition to this, as lifestyles became more difficult, there were rumors suggesting that chemical analysts brought some raw materials of Philopon from China to secretly make drugs within the labs.

“It’s not only Hamheung. Drugs are easily available even in Pyongyang” the source said and, “Drugs are openly traded at the underground foreigners casino in Yangkag Hotel (for Hong Kong, Macau and Chinese tourists).”

The source continued, “The elite in Pyongyang often take drugs and this hotel is known for its stash of drugs” and added, “The Safety Agency and the Protection Agency must take action. Otherwise, the situation is only going to get worse.”


2 Responses to “Drugs Stashed Away at a Foreigners Casino in Yangkang Hotel”

  1. David Mole says:


    what are we talking here – caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are all drugs, as are over-the-counter prescription medicines. “never would I have thought that a good person like my brother-in-law would become a drug addict” oh please. Every smoker in the West is a drug addict – next to caffeine, nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs of all. What are the drugs in reference!!!??

    It’s really important to be explicit here. If these “drugs” are just pain killers such as codeine, then it doesn’t seem such a big deal. If it’s heroin, well there may be more of an issue.

    The drugs of choice may be very revealing as to the state of the NK elites/foreigners. Are they living the high-life on cocaine, escaping life’s troubles on grade-A heroin, struggling by on crack, philosophically contemplating life through weed, or tripping their way through power on acid? Information on the drugs they’re relying on can show us something about the kind of lifestyles they’re living.

    “drugs” – what useless hyperbole. If it’s so prevalent as the article pronounces, surely it is a simple task to give some specifics.

  2. Curtis Melvin says:

    The Daily NK, though informative, is not know for its precise use of English. When I initially began posting their articles, I attempted to correct some of the grammar, but I gave up after a while.