Due to China’s protest, North Korea’s drug production facility partly closed

Daily NK
Han Young Jin

Well-informed sources say Heungnam manufacturer’s production facility shuts down.

Several well-known sources relayed on the 20th that as North Korean drugs flow into China in large amounts, it strongly protested to North Korea and requested that the Heungnam Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Hamheung be shut down.

Following suit, the North Korean government authorities was known to destroy the Heungnam Pharmaceutical Manufacturer used in producing bingdu (the alias for “ice” classified in the category of Philopon in North Korea).

The well-informed source said, “China’s judicial authorities are strongly coping with the situation by imposing three years of penal servitude to those who sell 10g of Bingdu (so called “Ice” in North Korea) or a penalty of 20,000 yuan. When North Korea demonstrated a lax response, China expressed strong discontent.”

In North Korea, the Nanam Pharmaceutical Manufacturer in Chungjin, North Hamkyung is famous as a representative drug manufacturing company. The source evaluated that Hamheung, which has recently risen as a drug production base, had weak means of living which produced the highest number of deaths during the 90s’ mass starvation and the stimulant “Ice” was misused due to the lack of medical products.

$3,000 per kilogram…dealt for $10,000 at the border

An internal source said, “During the March of Suffering, a part of citizens who even sold raw materials and factory equipment earned big money by selling drugs. Since then, everyone has followed the trend. The people in Hamheung started handling drugs with great ambition due to the fact that at the Heungnam Pharmaceutical Manufacturer, the prime cost for a kilogram is $3,000 dollars and the profit exceeds $5,000.”

The source said, “In the past, people touched drugs hoping to make a big fortune with a single swoop, but everyone is thinking about making money by selling drugs nowadays. Inevitably, the number of civilians who have become ‘ice’ addicts has significantly increased.”

Ice can be produced for $3,000 per kilogram and sold on site for $7-8,000 and at the border region where smuggling is possible, it can be sold for up to $10,000.

Another source said, “Civilians have fallen to the bedazzlement of making a jackpot with drugs, so they have gone to the border region carrying drugs and seeking dealers. However, fakes that have been manufactured ingeniously are also making a wave.”

In North Korea, as drug sales have been unyielding, it was known that teenagers who are touching “ice” are not only seriously in Hamheung but in all regions. They are not showing immediate signs of addiction, but they can be presumed as “high-risk” people for addiction.

North Korean businessman Mr. Kim, who is engaging is trade between North Korea and China, wore a sorry expression and said, “Nowadays, children who are not yet fully grown use ‘ice.’ Not too long ago, my friend’s 12-year old son was found while secretly using his father’s ‘ice.’ After severely beating him, the father asked, “Do you like ‘ice’ so much? The son responded, ‘it is a cure-all.’”

In the mid-1990s, due to deteriorated medical facilities and a shortage of medical goods, citizens started to depend on folk remedies. Civilians who started using ‘ice’ in lieu of cold medicines started using it as emergency medicine even for the flu and strokes.

Mr. Kim said, “Ice has a stimulant quality, so it is used to as a stimulant and a stress-releaser. Even children have come to regard it as a panacea and think that a little suck of ice will instantly get rid of pain and make one refreshed.”

Narcotic squads hardly have any strength

The North Korean authorities issued a narcotics degree in March of last year to prevent drug abuse. It has even issued the threat of putting to death related parties of drug deals. However, businesses that have earned money through drugs feed bribes to inspection organs, so sources said that these institutions cannot exert any strength.

One domestic source said, “Recently, a Central Party inspection group was organized in Shinuiju and came forward to regulate drugs, but authorities such as the National Security Agency, the National Security Office, and others have become implicated. However, exposing them in increasing measures makes punishment difficult, because complicit individuals can come forward in hordes.”

Drug sellers in the border region have divided left-over profits from handing over to China with participating National Security officers. The source said, “If a drug dealer is arrested, if back-money is given, even the ring-leader will be immediately released.”

The source also said that upper-class drug inspection groups can instantly become conspirators due to the high amount of money to be handed over to their superiors.


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