Police agency abolishes rewards for turning in N. Korean propaganda leaflets


Police said Tuesday they have abolished rewards for those who turn in North Korean propaganda leaflets discovered in South Korean territory, as almost none have been found over the past few years amid thawing inter-Korean relations.

“In recent years, the number of North Korean leaflets that have been reported to us is close to zero,” said a spokesman for the National Police Agency, adding that the reward policy is already useless.

Leaflet dissemination was a key element of propaganda warfare between the archrival countries during the Cold War. The two Koreas, which are technically in a state of war, attempted to secretly distribute the leaflets in each other’s territory ever since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.

However, the number plummeted in recent years amid a thaw in two-way ties, especially after the first summit between the leaders of the two Koreas in Pyongyang in 2000. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il held the second inter-Korean summit in the North Korean capital early this month.

The North attempted to disseminate millions of propaganda leaflets in the South every year until the 2000 summit.

The North Korean leaflets, often found in the countryside or on university campuses, were allegedly distributed by South Korean sympathizers or sent by balloon from the communist state.

The leaflets contained messages or pictures aimed at enticing South Koreans to defect to the North or criticizing the Seoul government.

Police had previously urged citizens to be aware of the leaflets in April and August, as strong northwestern winds enabled more balloons carrying the propaganda to reach the South.

Police used to grant medals to adults who collected a large number of the leaflets, while children were rewarded with new pencils and notebooks.


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