Archive for the ‘Heung Nam Pharmaceutical Company’ Category

Foreign Sales of Drugs Decline, North Korean Citizens Surface as Consumers

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Daily NK
Kim Min Se

Only six, seven years ago, drugs inside North Korea secretly circulated among a portion of the upper-level officials and the specially affluent class, such as Chinese emigrants. Opium or heroine, produced in North Korea, were sold abroad to make foreign currency.

North Korea produces and exports drugs at the national level. Events where North Korean vessels and diplomats, through drug transport or charges of sales, are prosecuted by third-party countries is common. South Korean government, in the midst of North Korea’s breakdown in foreign currency supply in 1998, has deduced at one point that foreign-currency earners through illicit drug sales and illegal activities had amassed 100 million dollars.

From year 1970, North Korea’s drug sales, which secretly began on a small-scale, by the decree of Chairperson Kim Jong Il, rose in reality as a national enterprise and began official productions. In the August of same year, Chairperson Kim named the opium seed cultivation work as “White Bellflower Business.”

Further, he bestowed the appellation, “White Bellflower Hero,” to the person who sold over 1 million dollars of drugs, and ordered, “For the acquisition of foreign currency, export opium on a large scale (information reported by the National Intelligence Service, Lee Jong Chan former Chair at the inspection of National Intelligence Service on November 6, 1998).” As for North Korea’s drug production factories, the Nanam Pharmaceutical Factory in Chongjin and Hamheung’s Heungnam Pharmaceutical Factory are well-known.

Drugs, which are costly to average civilians preoccupied with making a living, were considered as a portion of the special class’ acts of aberration. The North Korean government, besides the foreign-currency earners, strictly inspected acts of drug circulations, so one could not even dream about this as a means of making money.

After the collapse of national provisions, drug sales also increase.

However, the food shortage brought a huge change to North Korea’s drug production and circulation. When the planned-economy system, where the nation was in charge of the provisions, broke down, the citizens started doing sales for survival. In North Korea where means of making money are not abundant, the place where one can smell money is at the market.

The revitalization of the jangmadang (black market) and general markets gave citizens in the cities a certain of opportunity to make a living. Further, they learned the mentality that money is best for survival. The custom began to spread where the citizens went through thick and thin if it meant working at a money-making job. Drugs infiltrated this opening.

Drugs that are most highly circulated in North Korea are philopon and heroine. The center of philipon productions is in Hamheung, South Hamkyung.

Hamheung is considered as a chemical industry synthesis base within North Korea where companies related to the chemistry branch can be abundantly found.

The representative place is the 2.8 Vinyl Chemical Complexes. Besides this, there are Hamheung Chemical Industry College (in its 5th year), the Heungnam Fertilizer Factory, and the Heungnam Pharmaceutical Factory, which are the providers of North Korea’s top chemical researchers.

The reason why Hamheung became the main place of philopon production

The raw materials for the vinyl complex are limestones of the Ounpo Mine in Hongwon-gun and the raw materials of the Heungnam Fertilizer Factory are ramrods of Huhcheon-gun and emulsified steel of the Manduk Mine.

For this reason, many chemistry-related researchers and workers are residing in Hamheung. The problem is that after the food provisions were cut off, they turned their eyes to Philopon production when making a living became difficult.

They can produce high-quality philopon, if they just have a good laboratory and raw materials. In particular, outside demand for Philopon was explosive in early 2000, when there were no huge restraints in the North Korea-Japanese trade and when the North Korea-Chinese trade became active.

Hamheung citizen Choi Myung Gil (pseudonym) said, “In the initial stage, if the businessmen provided raw materials and funds to researchers, they made high-quality Philipon and kept half of the profit. Do poor researchers have any money? They made them because businessmen received orders from China and Japan and sold them. Also, there was nothing to fear because bribes kept the mouths of the National Security Agency and the Social Safety Agency shut. There is nothing one cannot do with money, so what kind of a researcher would crush such a money-making scheme?”

Mr. Choi said, “The cost of production of philopon is no more than 3,000 dollars per kilogram in North Korea. If one sells this, he or she can receive 6,000 dollars on the spot. Manufactured Philopon can be handed over to middlemen or if it directly enters Shinuiju and is given to dealers, it can bring in from 9,000 to 10,000 dollars.”

He said, “My friend, who worked as a researcher in the Hamheung Branch Laboratory, also lived poorly, but became wealthy overnight by making philopon. I also am benefitting from him. There are many people who have become wealthy in Hamheung by making philopon.”

Ultimately, when the North Korea-Chinese traders bring the raw materials from China, the Hamheung chemical researchers make the philopon and the merchants take these to China for sale. In this process, the Chinese crime syndicate have also intervened.


Chairwoman of Women’s Union Caught With Drugs Unsettles Hoiryeong

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Daly NK
Kim Young Jin

Chairwoman for Hoiryeong City’s North Korean Democratic Women’s Union, Suh Kyung Hee’s husband “K” has been dealing with drugs since the moment he managed his company, Maebong Company. However, as central authorities began to centralize businesses since last year, the company closed its doors and “K” adopted his driver “L” as drug runner and his daughter as the treasurer in charge of distributing illicit drugs to smugglers at wholesale costs to districts such as Musan, Hoiryeong and Onsung.

According to a source in Hoiryeong, K and his driver L had been in confrontation with one another since January. In the past K had procured his drugs from Chongjin and moved them to a base in Hoiryeong. Then, the drugs would be either sold to border smugglers or sold to Chinese tradesmen.

Here is where the conflict surfaced. While, L was in charge of delivering the drugs from Chongjin to Hoiryeong, K became suspicious that L was secretly hoarding the drugs elsewhere. Hence, K conducted an investigation trailing L’s steps at which a disagreement arose.

In early Feb, L voluntarily went to North Hamkyung Security Agency in Chongjin and exposed that Chairwoman Suh’s family had been disclosing in drug dealings. The motive behind L indicting Chairwoman Suh’s family is still unknown.

Some argue that the reason L went straight to the district security office and not the city office in Hoiryeong was because of Chairwoman Suh’s hierarchical position in Hoiryeong city. If L had carelessly reported this case to the city office, it is possible that L would have simply lost his self-dignity.

At present, it seems that rumors about this case are spreading rapidly across Hoiryeong creating unsettling feelings in the city.

People of Hoiryeong city are muttering “High officials must also be shown the seriousness of law,” criticizing Chairwoman Suh’s family for concealing such large amounts of dollars and yuan also Chairwoman Suh, who as the leader of the Women’s Union would advocate severe punishment for female defectors.

100g of North Korean drugs sell for 12,000 yuan

North Korean citizen Park Jong Shim (pseudonym, Sanup-dong, Hoiryeong) who lives in the same suburb as Chairwoman Suh, said in a telephone conversation with a reporter on the 26th “The whole city is raucous because of Chairwoman Suh’s story” and informed “Some people say that the power of law will be enforced properly this time as the district security agency has been involved. On the other hand, some question whether or not those people with so much money and power will be punished according to law, despite the district office being involved.”

Hoiryeong citizen Kang Eun Soon (pseudonym) who defected to China in January said “If I think about the times when Chairwoman Suh would go around making a racket, my teeth rattle.” Like second nature, Chairwoman Suh would prowl around advocating, “With the slightest nudge, Hoiryeong women jump to China, not only defiling their bodies but dishonoring the land where mother Kim Jong Sook (Kim Jong Il’s mother) was born.”

Kang said “Usually, Suh would conduct political meetings through her Women’s Union and argue that the reason there was so many public trials for border crossers and illegal acts in Hoiryeong was due to the fact that women could not look after their family. She would say that Hoiryeong women were obsessed over money and would go to any lengths to get this becoming shallow-minded people.”

“Even if a verdict was made stating that Chairwoman Suh was not linked to the drug dealings, she would still not be able to maintain her position because of all the things she has said in the past,” Kang added.

The drug known as “ice” made in North Korea is sold to Korea, Japan and even Macau through the intermediary of China. The drug “ice” as known to defectors, originated from the Heung Nam Pharmaceutical Company.

Though the going rate for “ice” differs according to quality, 100g of high-quality ice is 12,000 yuan, 9,000~10,000 yuan for standard and 7,000 yuan for low-quality ice.

In accordance with North Korea’s legislation Article 218 amended in April 2004, any person found producing or trading drugs is sentenced to a maximum of 5 years time at the Labor Education Camp. If this act has been repeated on numerous occasions or the drug dealings were large scale, a person could be sentenced to 5~10 years at the Labor Education Camp. If the conditions are even more severe, the law clearly states that a person could then be sentenced to more than 10 years time at the Labor Education Camp or sent to the Labor Education Camp for life.