KPA soldiers reportedly buying time off

According to the Daily NK:

It has been revealed that if a Chosun People’s Army soldier is able to provide his military base with a fixed quantity of food, he is able to obtain an extended vacation.

A source from Pyongyang explained to the situation to The Daily NK on the 14th, “There has been this system since October last year; soldiers can get a 15-day vacation by offering 100kg of corn to their military base.”

“Now all soldiers from wealthy households can do their military service at home,” he added.

According to the source, military commanders see the policy as killing three birds with one stone, because not only is the base provided with food, but also when a soldier goes home the base can save the amount of food he would have been given during that period, and when he comes back to base after the vacation he is likely to bring some money with him. Higher military authorities apparently know what is going on, but do not try to stop it.

Another source from North Hamkyung Province has confirmed at least one case of the policy in action, reporting to The Daily NK, “My nephew was doing his military service in Hwanghae Province but then got surgery during a fifteen-day break. But he needed one month more vacation, so he offered 200kg of corn to the base.”

He added, “On the base where my nephew serves, each solder gets 550g of corn everyday and the military almost always tells them to go off-base to solve the problem of lunch for themselves, at neighboring farms or wherever.”

Although it was not previously so systematic, it is not actually new for rich households to provide food to the military in exchange for time off.

One defector, Choi, who served in the headquarters of an anti-aircraft machine gun corps in Pyongyang before coming to Seoul in 2010, told The Daily NK, “In 2007 I went home for three months after my father offered 500kg of corn to my base. It was possible because he was the Propaganda Secretary of a collective farm. Other soldiers’ families were not in such good condition, and they couldn’t even imagine spending that much time at home.”

Meanwhile, the current situation in the military is driving other soldiers to thievery. The same source explained that soldiers now openly say that they have to take care of themselves even if that means stealing, since they have no money and therefore cannot get a vacation.

The Pyongyang source also explained that even Pyongyang bases now only feed soldiers corn, and revealed that as a result, “The number of soldiers getting swollen faces from malnutrition and deserting is increasing.”

He added, “They tend to steal things from civilians’ homes and are not reluctant to assault civilians who refuse to accept their demands.” Therefore, the source said, “General people call them not ‘the People’s Army,’ but ‘Thief Army’ or ‘Bandits.’”

The source also explained, meanwhile, “Rich parents get their sons out via discharges due to illness, something which is done with large bribes.”

Given the dire military food situation, there are also many cases of parents offering bribes to military cadres in order to put their sons in charge of food storage, according to the source. Manager of food storage is the best position on the base, and therefore fiercely competitive.

Read the full story here:
Offer 100kg Corn, Get 15-Day Vacation
Daily NK
Park Jun Hyeong and Lee Seok Young


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