Customs Director of Hoiryeong Arrested for Assisting in Drug Trades

Daily NK
Yang Jung A

It was confirmed that the customs director of the city of Hoiryeong in North Hamkyung province was arrested last December for alleged corruption.

Multiple sources in Hoiryeong reported on the 8th that “The customs director of Hoiryeong was arrested at the end of last December on suspicion of assisting in the drug trade with China. It is known that a large sum of U.S. dollars was found in the customs director’s house.”

A source in North Korea reported through a phone call that, “The arrested customs director regulated small-scale merchants heavily and gave benefits to a couple of merchants who regularly gave bribes. Ultimately, the result was that access to commercial licenses in Hoiryeong was limited to the merchants who dominated the jangmadang.

Hoiryeong is one of the major crossing points along the North Korea-China border. Recently, cases of extortion in which the customs director demanded bribes in exchange for not confiscating goods were on the rise. Criticism had been rising.

The outcry from Korean-Chinese who regularly visit relatives in North Korea has been especially loud. Customs officers have required bribes from the Korean-Chinese who visit North Korea to deliver food, clothing, medicine, and daily necessities claiming them as customs fees. Such actions have become commonplace.

The arrest of the Hoiryeong customs director is said to be linked to increased regulation and to preventing illegal and anti-socialist activities.

Just last December, the managing director of a cooperative farms in Mundeuk, South Pyongan Province and an executive secretary were publicly executed for the embezzlement of national funds. A Vice Managing Director in Chongjin, North Hamkyung province was arrested on charges of corruption.

In Shinuiju, North Pyongan Province, the president of a foreign currency earning company under the Escort Bureau of Pyongyang, Dongyang Trading Company, was arrested on charges of working with the South Korean intelligence organization. He is awaiting execution.

As corruptions and embezzlement become widespread among local cadres, the authorities have started to engage in widespread investigations. The cadres who were found guilty were dismissed or removed from office and in severe cases, they were even sentenced to death.

The local cadres accumulated money through embezzlement of national funds or reporting less amounts than they actually dealt with. As money becomes more valuable than power in North Korean society, the party has started to come up with severe measures such as arrest and death sentences to deal with these problems.

The source also added, “The customs director is still in custody. But, he can use his power and money to get himself released because he is so rich.


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