Border crossing more expensie

According to the Daily NK:

Since the redenomination on November 30 last year, the cost of crossing the Tumen River has risen as high as 10,000 Yuan on the back of tighter border regulations.

A source from North Hamkyung Province told the Daily NK on Thursday, “Since border security was strengthened in February, it has cost at least 10,000 Yuan to cross the border into China.” This is equal to around 400,000 North Korean won at the black market exchange rate, or $1400.

In 2006, the cost of crossing the Tumen River around Musan and Onsung in North Hamkyung Province was just 500 Yuan.

The reason is because now there is an alliance of brokers monopolizing the crossing business, and a number of regulations designed to both circumscribe the ability of citizens to cross and limit the relationship between guard companies and local citizens.

In the distant past, if people wanted to cross the river, they approached guards and haggled over the price directly. However, now people have to rely on professional brokers who put them in contact with guards and guides in China. One pays a price to the broker, who shares it with North Korean border guards and Chinese guides respectively at a ratio of 4:3:3.

The North Korean authorities designated the period from February 5th until Kim Jong Il’s birthday on the 16th as a period of “special vigilance,” handing down special instructions to strengthen the border guard and regulations covering migration in border cities.

According to a Daily NK source, this measure is primarily intended to limit the ability of those suffering since the redenomination to smuggle or cross the border to make money in China, as well as to regulate citizens in advance of Kim Jong Il’s birthday, which is customary.

The source emphasized, “Since December last year, the number of citizens using human networks in China to make money has been increasing. Therefore, agents of the National Security Agency and the People’s Safety Agency have been watching those people closely.”

The source further explained, “Now, the authorities are forcing border guards to observe each other in order to track down those doing business with brokers and border crossers. In January, in Yusun-dong, Hoiryeong, one company commander was dismissed after a platoon commander informed on him for assisting border crossers.”

In the mid-2000s, along the border near settlements such as Namyang, Sambong, and Jongsung in North Hamkyung Province, the authorities set up nail boards and extra barbed wire along the Tumen River in order to inhibit defection. However, as these physical measures were not as effective as hoped, in 2006 the authorities took to switching guard posts between different guard companies without notice and awarding a prize, membership of the Party, to guards who caught people crossing the border. These measures were designed to break down connections between individual guards and the local populace

Therefore, the source added, “These days, no border guards are helping people cross the river, and the cost is soaring.”

Read the full story here:
Tight Rules Make Border Costs Soar
Daily NK
Lee Sung Jin


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