Archive for the ‘Cosmetics’ Category

North Korea heightens promotion of domestic light industry goods

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

North Korean media is actively promoting the superiority of its light industry products, likening Pyongyang’s department stores to product exhibition halls.

North Korea’s external propaganda site, DPRK Today, posted an article on November 26, 2015 entitled, ‘Come Visit the Pyongyang Department Store No. 1, which is Gaining Popularity for its Domestically-Produced Goods.’ According to the article, “The display stands are so full of domestic products that the department store looks like a light industry product exhibition.”

Opened in 1982 after reconstructing Pyongyang’s former Hwashin Department Store, Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 is located in Pyongyang’s Jung-guyok and is North Korea’s largest department store. With nine floors above ground and one below, it sells numerous domestic goods as well as goods produced in China and other countries. Its most popular items are female beauty products.

According to the article, North Korea’s domestic goods enjoy great popularity with the North Korean people. The Cosmos brand hairpin and Bomhyanggi and Unhasu high-end cosmetics brands (manufactured by the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory) are reportedly well-received by women. Also said to be selling well are the Choltchuk socks produced by the Pyongyang Hosiery Factory, shoes manufactured by the Ryuwon Shoes Factory, and light-weight dishes made by Kyongsong Ceramic Factory. The article goes on to boast that people who purchase domestic brands like Rungna, Bombit Bread, Taedong River Bottled Beer, Pyongyang Soju, Raengchon Cider, and Kangso Mineral Water all say, “Our things are the best.”

Between January and February 2015, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Pyongyang’s cosmetics and shoes factories, where he directly mentioned famous overseas brands and repeatedly called for the production of world-class products. In early November 2015 North Korean media released a flurry of reports boasting about the improvement in the quality of its cosmetics.

On another note, Kim Jong Un is also reportedly visiting military-affiliated fisheries and urging an increase in production. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on November 25, 2015 that Kim gave field guidance to the No. 15 Fisheries Office, which is affiliated with the 549th Unit of the Korean People’s Army and is pushing forward a “massive fish harvest.”

To encourage the workers, Kim reportedly said, “I hope the laborers and warriors of the fishery offices do as the Party intends and welcome the 7th Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party by fixing and modernizing the offices magnificently and achieving more excellent fishing results. . . . The fishery offices must build on the results this year and set magnanimous goals in order to rapidly increase the yearly fish output in a short period of time.”


North Korea boasts of ‘world-class cosmetics’

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

As reports in North Korea continue to pour out boasting about the improvement in the quality of its cosmetics, it appears that Kim Jong Un’s instructions to raise the quality of cosmetics suited to the tastes of consumers have achieved some results.

On November 5, 2015, the North Korean external propaganda site ‘DPRK Today’ posted an article about the 26th National Exhibition of Consumer Products, which was held in Pyongyang from October 26-30. The website reported, “The Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory and Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory submitted more than 80 types of cosmetics and hundreds of products to the exhibition, which felt like the site of a fierce technology competition.”

‘DPRK Today’ cited products on display such as soap, beauty cream, shampoo, and conditioner. “The brands were very distinctive, and the packaging has also changed. There were also many new eye-catching products,” the website reported.

The article also referenced the cosmetic industry’s slogan, ‘World-Class Cosmetic Products—More, Better, Faster,’ and emphasized that the “goals and rate of progress of our cosmetics industry have changed. Those dreams were placed on many products displayed at the exhibit.” In order to achieve these goals, the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory as well as the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory are “constantly shortening the technology renewal cycle by modernizing the production process and better managing technological capabilities,” the website explained.

Back in May 2015, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, reported that the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory was producing functional cosmetics with ‘natural’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ qualities. It mentioned the ‘Unhasu’ brand and stated that products such as beauty cream, lotion, and foundation had already been developed.

The newspaper also claimed that the biotechnology division of the State Academy of Sciences had used stem cells to develop cosmetics with anti-aging, moisturizing, and whitening effects.

Prior to this Kim Jong Un had visited the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory in February 2015, where he issued instructions to raise the quality of cosmetics. “We need to make it so that our people prefer Unhasu products to foreign-made cosmetics, and further, so that Unhasu cosmetics become the talk of the global market,” he exhorted factory employees.


Development of stem cell cosmetics in North Korea

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The Chosun Sinbo, mouthpiece of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, reported that North Korea has developed and is now producing cosmetic products that utilize new natural materials and cutting-edge technology, including stem cell technology.

“At the Pyongyang Cosmetic Factory, they are concentrating on developing functional cosmetic products that are natural and low stimulating,” the Chosun Sinbo revealed on April 28.

The biotechnology and light industry divisions of the State Academy of Sciences, as well as scientists, teachers and researchers at the Han Duk Su Pyongyang Light Industry University, are assisting in this work.

According to researchers within the biotechnology division, the product utilizes stem cell technology in regenerating skin, and it is effective in preventing aging, moisturizing skin, and lightening skin.

They said that they developed the cosmetic additive (which has a pine tree scent) at the Pyongyang Natural Perfume Research Center, and that this product matches the characteristics of one’s skin by age and is effective in things like skin lightening and removing wrinkles.

They added that they have also developed a beauty cream that has a moisturizing and whitening effect due to its natural hydrating materials derived from kelp.

In March 2015, First Secretary Kim Jong Un inspected the Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory. During his inspection he cited world-renowned cosmetics brands like Lancome, Chanel, Christian Dior and Shiseido and encouraged the factory to “continually raise the quality of its products so that we can compete with such foreign cosmetic products.”

In particular, Kim noted that “the eyeliner and mascara made by foreign countries retain their shape when exposed to water, whereas the mascara and eyeliner produced domestically create ‘raccoon eyes’ when the wearer only yawns.”

The Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory was established in April 1962 and is North Korea’s representative cosmetics factory, producing all sorts of cosmetic goods such as the ‘Unhasu’ brand. It also produces over 60 types of functional cosmetics including soap, shampoo, beauty cream and skin lotion.


Pyongyang’s official haircut prices

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

A friend passes along some pictures (taken in 2014) of Pyongyang haircuts and prices.


2014-mens-hair-prices-1 2014-mens-hair-prices-2

Here is what the chart says:

Haircut for Men Price Table
Approval “No.4540” on November 11, 2011, by the National Pricing Bureau (State Price Commission)

Cut (long hair)–25 won
*Vigor style cut–50 won
Dry–10 won
Shaving–10 won
Self-shaving–5 won
Curling hair with heated tongs–15 won
Dyeing–50 won

*The “Vigor Style cut (Pae-Ki Mo-Ri)” resembles Kim Jong-un’s hair style


2014-women-haircut-chart-1 2014-women-haircut-chart-2

Here is what the chart says:

Haircut for Women Price Table
Approval “No.4540” on November 11, 2010, by the National Pricing Bureau (State Price Commission)

Permanent (long hair)–100 won
Permanent (short hair)–70 won
Permanent (bangs)–45 won
Hair cut–20 won
Hair cut, Permanent, Hair cut, Dry–110 won
Set (long hair)–30 won
Set (short hair)–20 won
Dry–20 won
Brush (long hair)–20 won
Brush (short hair)–20 won


Pomhyanggi hand lotion

Monday, March 12th, 2012

A friend of mine visited the DPRK and returned with a bottle of hand moisturizing lotion (pictured above). In English it is called “Kaesong Koryo Insam Moisture Milk Cream”. The Korean name is “개성고려인삼 물크림”, and it is manufactured by a company called Pomhyanggi (봄향기). According to Kwang On Yoo, the name translates to mean “Spring Fragrance”.

Popmhyanggi is a product line of the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory (satellite image here). Sales are promoted through a Joint Venture company–the partner(s) are unknown at this time–called the Korea Pomhyanggi Joint Venture Company. The JV apparently operates out of an exhibition hall in Moranbong-guyok, Pyongyang, which was opened in 2007. Here is a link to an additional KCNA story on the cosmetics line.


ROK goods saturate DPRK

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

According to the Hankyorey:

A report on major North Korean indicators released by Statistics Korea on Wednesday revealed that South Korean products are becoming increasingly popular in North Korea, and that there are hardly any North Korean urban youth who do not watch South Korean TV dramas or movies.

In the report, Statistics Korea said it is becoming a fad for young people in major North Korean cities like Pyongyang and along the border with China to watch South Korean television dramas and films using MP3 players or laptop computers. Statistics Korea said MP3 players with 1G of memory cost 60,000 North Korean Won (estimated $419), while a used laptop costs about 2 million North Korean Won. A memory chip with two or three movies costs 10,000 North Korean Won if it is an original, and 5,000 North Korean Won if its a copy.

The report also said many South Korean products are in circulation in North Korea, including blenders, portable heaters, gas ranges, butane cans, lunch trays, gas heaters, rice cookers, dishrags and gloves. According to the report, South Korean shampoo and conditioner is popular with the wives of high-ranking North Korean officials in Pyongyang. Some 470g bottles of South Korean shampoo and rinse go for 40-50 yuan (8,000-10,000 South Korean Won) in Pyongyang. The report said the popularity of South Korean products was also reflected in other goods. South Korean necklaces are sold for about $500 and earrings for about $70-80, while South Korean products like perfume, deodorant, car air fresheners, refrigerator deodorizer and bathroom air fresheners are also selling well.

South Korea’s nominal GNI in 2009 was $837.2 billion, 37.4 times that of North Korea’s $22.4 billion. North Korea’s economic power, all told, is no more than the level of the South Korean city of Gwangju (about 22 trillion Won). South Korea’s per capita income of $18,175 was 17.9 times that of North Korea’s $960. South Korea also conducted $686.6 billion in total trade, 201.9 times that of North Korea, which conducted only $3.4 billion. The only sectors in which North Korea topped South Korea were production of iron ore and coal and length of railroads. North Korea’s iron ore production was 4.955 million tons, ten times that of South Korea (455,000 tons), and its coal production was 25.5 million tons, 10 times that of South Korea (2.519 million tons). North Korea also had 5,242km of railroads, 1.4 times that of South Korea’s 3,378km. North Korea is also believed to have 7 quadrillion Won in underground mineral wealth.

I have been unable to locate the original on the Statistics Korea page.  If any readers can find it, please let me know.

Read the full story here:
In limited N.Korean market, furor for S.Korean products
Hwangbo Yon


Paul White published September 2010 DPRK Business Monthly

Monday, September 27th, 2010

You can download the PDF here.

Topics discussed include:
Kim Jong Il Praises China’s Economic Advance
“NK Keen on Investment in Mining”
DPRK Pavilion Day Marked at Shanghai Expo
NGO Initiatives in DPRK: Triangle Génération Humanitaire (France)
Choson Exchangers Train NK in Finance, Economics, Law
ROK Civic Bodies Seek to Help NK Flood Victims
Seoul’s NK Trade Ban Hits ROK Firms Hard
Can North Korea embrace Chinese-style reforms?
Pyongyang Night Life Buzzing
Hamhung Makes Economic Strides
Pomhyanggi Cosmetics Enjoy Popularity
P’yang Hosts International Film Festival
New Numerical-control Machine Tool
Climate Map to Aid Agriculture
New Rice Strain Suitable for Double Cropping
Online Medical Service Working Well
NK’s New Money-Making Venture: Video Games
Day-care Center Opens for Kaesong Complex Children
Seoul to Allow More of its Citizens to Work at Kaesong


2008 Top Items in the Jangmadang

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Daily NK
Park In Ho

The marketplace has become an extremely important ground in North Korean people’s lives. 70 percent of North Korean households in the city live off trade, handicrafts and transportation businesses related to trade. If the jangmadang works well, people’s living situation is good, otherwise it is not. In the situation where the food distribution system has broken down, the whole economic existence of the populace is bound up in jangmadang trade.

Trade is bound to generate successful merchants but also failures, due to a lack of know-how or confiscation of products by the People’s Safety Agency (PSA), or simply because a competition system operates. These failures in the jangmadang do not have any second opportunity to rise again so they frequently choose extreme acts like defection, criminality or suicide. Failure is serious.

However, the revitalization of markets has caused great changes in North Korean people’s values. The individual-centered mentality among the people is expanding and the belief that money is the best tool is also spreading. Due to such effects, the North Korean communist authorities in 2008 made the regulation to prohibit women younger than 40 years old from doing business, but of course the people use all necessary means to maintain their survival.

Daily NK investigated the 2008 top ten items in the jangmadang, so as to observe developments in North Korean society.

1. Rice in artificial meat, the first instance of domestic handicraft

Since 2000, the most ubiquitous street food has been “rice in artificial meat,” which is made from fried tofu with seasoned rice filling. This food is found everywhere on North Korean streets. One can find women who sell this snack in alleys, at bus stops and around stations. It costs 100 to 150 North Korean Won.

Meanwhile, the most popular street food is fried long-twisted bread. Individuals make the fried bread at home and sell it on the street. The length of the fried bread is around 20 centimeters and it sells for 100 won.

In around 2005 corn noodles were popular on the streets, but now street-stands for noodles have largely disappeared due to the existence of a permanent store controlled by the state.

These days, if one can afford to eat corn noodles, at approximately 1,000 won for a meal, one can safely say that one is living comfortably.

2. Car battery lights North Korea

The reason why North Korean people like car batteries is that the authorities provide a reliable electricity supply during the daytime, when consumption is less than at night, but at night they don not offer it. The authorities shut down the circuit from around 8 PM to 9PM, and from 12 AM to 2 AM: when the people watch television the most.

As a result, the people charge their car batteries during daytime and use it at night. A 12V battery can run a television and 30-watt light bulb. If they utilize a converter, they can use a color television, which needs more electricity.

Ownership of batteries is a standard of wealth. Officials use electricity from batteries in each room. They usually draw thick curtains in their rooms, to prevent light shining through that might draw attention to their status.

3. The strong wind of South Korean brand’ rice-cooker, Cuckoo

A South Korean brand pressure rice-cooker called Cuckoo appeared as a new icon for evaluating financial power among North Korean elites.

It has spread from the three Chinese northeast provinces into North Korea. In North Korea, Chinese rice and third country aid rice, dry compared to Korean sticky rice, generally circulates, but if the lucky few use this rice-cooker, they can taste sticky rice the way Korean people like it.

There are Cuckoo rice-cookers from South Korean factories that arrive through Korean-Chinese merchants, and surely other Cuckoo products from Chinese factories. These two kinds of rice-cookers, despite having the same brand name, sell for different prices.

The Chinese-made Cuckoo sells for 400,000-700,000 North Korean Won (approximately USD114-200), while the South Korean variety costs 800,000-1,200,000 (approximately USD229-343). A Cuckoo rice-cooker tallies with the price of a house in rural areas of North Korea. According to inside sources, they are selling like wildfire.

4. An electric shaver only for trips

The electric shaver is another symbol of wealth.

It is not that they use electric shavers normally, because one cannot provide durability. At home, North Korean men generally use disposable shavers with two blades made in China or a conventional razor. However, when they take a business trip or have to take part in remote activities, they bring the electric shaver.

There are North Korean-made shavers but most are imported from China. Among Chinese products, you can see “Motorola” products and fake-South Korean products with fake labels in Korean. A Chinese-made electric shaver is around 20,000-40,000 North Korean Won.

5. Chosun men’s fancy shoes

Dress shoes are one of the most important items for Chosun men when they have to participate in diverse political events, loyalty vows or greeting events at Kim Il Sung statues on holidays. Right after the famine in the late 1990s, it was considered a symbol of the wealth, but now general workers, farmers and students are wearing dress shoes.

The shiny enameled leather shoes with a hard heel cannot be produced in North Korea because of a lack of leather. The North Korean authorities provide the National Security Agency (NSA) and officers of the People’s Army with dress shoes, which are durable but too hard and uncomfortable.

Shoes for general citizens and students are mostly made in China and some are produced in joint enterprises in Rajin-Sunbong. The price of shoes ranges from 30,000 to 100,000 Won depending upon the quality.

6. Cosmetics prosper despite the economic crisis

Cosmetics and accessories for women are getting more varied. Lately, false eyelashes have appeared in the jangmadang in major cities. Chinese cosmetics are mainly sold, alongside fake South Korean brands. In Pyongyang, Nampo, Wonsan and Shinuiju Chinese and even European cosmetics are on sale.

“Spring Fragrance,” a North Korean luxury cosmetics brand, is famous for being Kim Jong Il’s gift that he presents to women soldiers or artists when he visits military units or cultural performances. It costs more than 200,000 North Korean won.

Lotions for women, made in China, are approximately 2,000-4,000 won, foundation cream is 3,000-5,000 won, and lipstick is from 500 won to 2,000 won. Hand cream is 3,000-5,000 won.

7. Hana Electronics recorder, the biggest state-monopoly production

“Hana Electronics” was originally set up to produce CDs and DVDs of North Korean gymnastic performances or other artistic performances, so as to export them foreign countries. The company has been producing DVD players since 2005.

Due to the state monopoly, the DVD player of the Hana Electronics dominates the market. North Korean people call a VCR and a DVD player a “recorder.” Since around 2005, after the booming interest in South Korean movies and dramas, the players have been selling very well.

At the beginning, North Korean visitors to China brought the DVD or CD players into North Korea, but as they got popular among the people, Chinese-made players were imported from China and since 2006 they have been really popular in every jangmadang.

Accordingly, since 2006, the authorities have started blocking the importation of the Chinese player and are selling the Hana Electronics players, which sell for around a 20 or 30 percent higher price than Chinese players in state-run stores. Now, they can be sold in the jangmadang by private merchants and comparatively free from inspection by the PSA. The prices are 130,000-150,000 won.

8. Bicycles are basic, the motorcycle era is here now

In major cities, numbers of motorcycles are increasing. Especially in border regions where smuggling with China is easier than in other cities, motorcycles are common.

The motorcycles are ordinarily used for mid or long distance business. Most motorcycles are made in China and some are Japanese second-handed products, which sell for 1.5-2.5 million won. 125cc new products are over 5 million won. The cheapest second-handed motorcycle is 500,000 won.

9. Vinyl floor covering for the middle class and vinyl for the poor

Demand for vinyl floor coverings and vinyl has been increasing since the late 1990s, when residential conditions improved. In the late-1990s people had to use sacks of cement or Rodong Shinmun (newspaper) as a floor covering, but now they are using vinyl floor coverings.

Uses for vinyl are unimaginably diverse: from a basic protection against wind and cold to when people take a shower at home in the vinyl tunnel hung on the ceiling of the bathroom.

Depending on the thickness and width, there are four or five kinds of vinyl in the jangmadang for from 150 to 500 won. Vinyl floor covering is a Chinese product selling for from 3,000 to 10,000 won.


North Korea’s continuing social change

Friday, June 20th, 2008

The Daily NK posted a fascinating interview with a local North Korean merchant.  He provides interesting anecdotes of everyday life:

Tongil Market (Featured in A State of Mind):

Nowadays, the way to survive is selling in the jangmadang (market). With the exception of the residents of the Joong-district and its vicinity, who are often mobilized to national events, seven out of 10 households do business in the jangmadang. In the Pyongyang Tongil (unification) Market alone, the number of people doing business is between 5,000~6,000 people. The size of a street-stand is approximately 50cm by 50cm large. There are also about 2,000 people selling outside of the market.”

“There are people also selling in the alleyways. The Tongil Market usually consists of people from the Tongil Street, so merchants from the other regions cannot do business there. In the Tongil Market alone, there are around 8,000 people [doing business]. Because the Market is so large, the cadres from the other regions frequently come to buy goods.”

Even in North Korea, capital enhances worker productivity: 

Mr. A said that in the markets, the sale of industrial goods (all kinds of products such as clothing brought from China) and cosmetics are supposed to be lucrative. The traders usually bring in about 5,000 won per day and 15,000 won per month. Such an amount of money can buy about 2kg of rice per day. The people who make a lot of money are the marine product merchants. They make around 7,000~8,000 won per day. Marine products are often purchased by officials who have money and rice.

The people in the lowest class do not have the capital to do business, so a majority of them sell noodles or food. They make about 1,500 won per day, which can purchase about a kilogram of corn. People who sell food sell rice, sidedishes, and snacks on site. To them, selling is a battle to survive.

Coping mechanisms:

Mr. A relayed that not-so-affluent households raise several domestic cattle, collect medicinal herbs or brew liquor to sell. The remnants of the liquor are used as livestock feed. Selling two bottles of liquor made of corn as raw material generates about 500 won in profit. However, the authorities have strictly been regulating brewing liquor in homes, resulting in difficult situations. If exposed for making liquor, both the person-in-charge and the People’s Party Unit chairman are banished to the countryside.

Beekeeping is seasonally supposed to be lucrative. In May when the acacia flowers start to bloom, the number of people who collect honey in the mountains increases. In the surrounding areas of Pyongyang, there are at least trees on the mountains, so beekeeping has been feasible. One person can collect about 100kg of honey per month by keeping around 15 beehives. The honey is usually consumed by people who want to use it in medicine or by officials.

Work overseas:

“The utmost goal of workers in Pyongyang is to go to another country to earn money. Recently, they have even gone to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Once they leave, they do not return for three years. They can go back or stay in Pyongyang. Workers who have gone to Russia or to Congo for farming come back with 10,000~20,000 dollars in three years.”

“With that money, they can buy a house and prepare a significant amount of capital for business. Those who have gone abroad not only do the work ordered by organizations, but also engage in private farming, do business and save as much money as they can. There have been a quite a few people around me who have gone abroad recently to make money this way. Out of 100 male workers, there is at least one or two. In order to go overseas, one has to pay 300~400 dollars in bribes.”

Read the full article here:
Doing Business Is a Battle
Daily NK 
Jung Kwon Ho


North Korea’s Market Regulations Extreme, Even Inspect Women’s Undergarments

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Daily NK
Kwon Jeong Hyun

The North Korean authorities have toughened their regulation of the market.

An inside North Korean source relayed that “After releasing the policy of market regulations, the inspections of the railway police have become more extreme. They carelessly go through the citizens’ bags or even search women’s undergarments.”

The North Korean authorities have strengthened market regulations, such as prohibiting goods that can be sold in the market or fixing prices.

Also, they have adjusted the minimum age of women who can sell in the jangmadang (markets) to 45 from 35 years. If women who are under 45 sell in the market or sell prohibited goods, the safety agents in charge or the managers of the jangmadang confiscate the products by force or charge fines.

The source commented, “The security agents search their bodies because merchants hide cosmetics, medicine, or precious metals in thick clothing. After the decree from the authorities, the safety agents have come forward for aggressive regulations.”

The regulation of the market has spread to long-distance merchants who use rails. If young women are carrying a lot of possessions in trains, the safety agents steal the goods by force and search their bags without discretion.

Pyongyang has also made public announcements to prohibit women under 49 from trading at the market starting December 1st. Currently, women under 39 are prohibited. Further, they are only allowed to sell at permitted locations in the market.

North Korean rail safety agents ride in every car of North Korea’s rails. The basic duties of rail safety agents consist of checking travel certificate and citizen cards and regulating suspicious passengers, including crimes of theft. On top of this, their authority to inspect women who are engaging in long-distance trade has increased.

The rail safety agents force passengers who carry large loads suspected of being goods for sale to come to the inspection car. The safety agents search the luggage and make threats, such as reporting them. Recently, after the prohibition of sales by women under 45, if the owner of the luggage is a woman under 45, she been threatened to be reported. Long-distance merchants can only claim their goods if they give bribes such as cigarettes or cash to the rail security officer.

The source stated, “After the market regulation, the amount of bribes to the rail safety agent has risen. Due to this decree, the safety agents become well-off.”

Also, with the increase in new regulation authority by the rail safety agents, the phenomenon of sexually harassing young women who engage in long-distance trade or requesting wrongful sexual relations has been taking place.

The agents take the women to regulation cars by saying, “We have to investigate whether or not you are engaging in gold trade,” and force them to remove their undergarments under the pretext of investigations and engage in illicit conduct. If the women protest, their luggage is confiscated or their citizen cards and travel certificates are handed over to the discretion of the local safety agency office at the train station and the woman is forcibly removed from the train.”

The source said, “In North Korea, there are no laws regarding human rights and the consciousness of average civilians regarding human rights is very low, so recent occurrences which have been frequent can give rise to societal issues.” He also noted, “As a result of the recent market regulation decree, the tyrannies of safety agents and party leaders have become worse and the situation of indiscriminate human rights violations has become even more conspicuous.”