Archive for the ‘Baekdu Company’ Category

North Korean businesses expanding in Russia

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

From the Donga Ilbo:

A black Benz with the red license plate of “087” passed by quickly. 087 is a number used exclusively for the sedans of North Korean diplomats. It was easy to tell that the North Korean embassy located on this street recently purchased the luxurious sedan.

“The North Korean embassy has been full of life since the latter half of 2006 because of the increased number of North Korean workers sent to Russia, diversified businesses and growing efforts to secure energy supplies,“ said North Korean defectors that the Dong-A Ilbo report team met in Moscow.

North Korean workers will construct the next APEC forum venue:

In order to prepare for the APEC, the Primorsky regional government (on the North Korean border) plans to issue work permits to 12,000 North Korean workers in 2008, four times higher than the number of those last year. A foreign national, who has hired North Korean workers, said, “North Korean senior officials are lobbying fiercely in order to increase the quota for laborers. They even arrange free tours of North Korea for Russian government officials.”

North Korea companies revived:

Recently, North Korean companies, such as Daedong River, Neungra, Baekdu and Goonpyo, have established their offices in many parts of Russia.

A 39-year-old North Korean defector who has stayed in Russia for 12 years said, “I believe, out of the 49 Russian provinces, North Korean firms have established their offices in about 30 provinces. Some 90 percent of them are responsible for overseeing North Korean workers.”

Joint ventures between Russia and North Korea, which went into hibernation after the United States froze North Korea’s account at Macau’s Banco Delta Asia in 2005, have recently resumed their activities. “Joint companies, which were active in the early 1990s, such as Dongbang Seafood and Far East Marine Transportation, have resumed their businesses,” said one Korean-Russian residing in Nakhodka.

Wages and Taxes:

“North Korean companies, which are spread across Russia, have been collecting about $400 to 500 from each North Korean worker every month. It is then used as high ranking officials’ business expenses,” said a 46-year-old North Korean defector.

“The discontent of workers is growing because high ranking officials dine out at fancy restaurants and their wives purchase expensive clothes with money earned by them,” added the defector.

(Uncle Sam is the only other government I know of that also taxes the income its citizens earn outside of its territory)

The story also makes a big deal out of the fact that the North Koreans pay huge bribes to do business in Russia, but who doesn’t?

Big players, who deliver a large sum of bribes to Russians, have also recently emerged. A captain of a North Korea freight ship was caught March 12 on site while shipping 100 tons of crude oil without reporting to customs at the Slavyanka shipyard, southern Vladivostok. It was found that the captain gave $45,000 to the president of the crude oil storage company as a kickback.

Read the full sotry here:
N.Korea’s Businesses Thriving in Russia
Donga Ilbo