GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 155

Research Institute for North Korean Society
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng


North Korea Today 155th Edition July 2008

“Research Institute for North Korean Society of Good Friends, in order to bring news of the food crisis in North Korea more accurately and quickly, will increase its e-newsletter frequency to more than one issue per week. As such, the release dates might shift. Thank you for your understanding and attention to this looming crisis. We at Good Friends hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.”


A Public Trial of Drug-related Criminals in Hamheung
Musan County: Febrile Disease Patients Are Isolated for Medical Treatment
Yeomju County Saltern: Charges Can Be Acquitted by Paying Cash for Illegally Obtained Salt
South Hamgyong Province: "Solve Kkotjebi Problems Swiftly"
Fishing Ship in Wonsan City Missing
Explosion Accident, Caused by Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer Theft


A Public Trial of Drug-related Criminals in Hamheung
On June 13th, a public trial of three drug dealers and two drug producers took place in the Sapo District market in Hamheung City, South Hamgyong Province. The two producers were sentenced to life in prison while three dealers were respectively sentenced to 7 years, 9 years, and 10 years of imprisonment. Meanwhile, it has been reported that a considerable number of police officers as well as their spouses in Hamheung City have been involved in 'ice' sales and the Central Party has begun investigations on these suspects.

Musan County: Febrile Disease Patients Are Isolated for Medical Treatment
On June 14, several cases of febrile diseases were discovered afflicting ten people with the disease. Febrile disease is known to cause violent reactions in people suffering from a sudden high spike in body temperature usually resulting from infection. These ten patients are currently isolated and are under medical treatment in a hepatitis sanatorium. In the meantime, anyone who has come in contact with these afflicted patients are now under examination to see if they have been infected. The leadership of the Emergency Epidemic Control Commission (비상방역지휘부) called for an emergency meeting at 2:00pm the same day the outbreak occurred. All health officers and city/county workers in Hamgyung Province met to discuss the necessary steps to prevent a further spread of febrile diseases. In addition to preventive measures, the workers also discussed methods to identify the diseases in patients.

Yeomju County Saltern: Charges Can Be Acquitted by Paying Cash for Illegally Obtained Salt
A recent inspection on a saltern in Yeomju County(염주군), North Pyongan Province has revealed fraudulent deeds of workers and managerial-level officers; they have illegally used salt for personal purposes. Since the suspension of food rations, workers and officers alike have sustained by stealing salt from the company. The provincial prosecutor's investigation team found that an ordinary worker's household was storing 5-8MT of salt; these people made money by selling 1 kg of salt for 70 won to local traders as the main source of their income. Moreover, the investigations revealed that the total amount of salt defrauded by a worker for a year reaches at 15-30MT. Not surprisingly, the gross amount of salt stolen by managerial-level officers, including an executive manager is considerably higher. These officers had stored away salt in amounts equivalent to 2-3 train cars or about 150MT a year. Finally, authorities issued an announcement to officers who were involved in the embezzlement that the charges against them would be dropped if they pay cash for the total amount of illegally obtained salt. The authority also issues a stern warning that severe punishment will be imposed if they do not make cash payment.

South Hamgyong Province: "Solve Kkotjebi Problems Swiftly"
The number of young Kkotjebi (homeless) in South Hamgyong Province, including Hamheung City, Gowon County, Heungnam City, and Sinpo County, has been rapidly increasing. Provincial authorities have had to meet to discuss how to deal with the rise in numbers of Kkotjebi and other homeless adults. The authorities reached a conclusion to send the arrested Kkotjebi to a relief center and then to orphanages (계모학원;고아원), and to send arrested homeless adults to mountain villages or farm villages as farm workers. In addition, the Provincial Party decided to work closely with county and municipal authorities in dealing with the homeless population.

Fishing Ship in Wonsan City Missing
On June 2, one trawler belonging to an aquatic corporation in Wonsan, went out to sea near Hamheung in South Hamgyong and went missing. There were no maritime warnings on that day, and the boat and crew have not been seen or heard from. Government authorities have temporarily concluded that the boat and its crew of nine probably perished in some sort of accident.

Explosion Accident, Caused by Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer Theft
There was an explosion in the ammunitions factory in Eunduk County of North Hamkyung Province on the morning of June 13. The laborers of this factory had stolen and stored Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer of 300 kg in a working-tool storage room, where the fire took place. There was even a rumor that an intelligence agency of South Korea instigated the explosion. However, the truth came out when a witness came forward. As a result, two laborers in the factory who had stolen the fertilizer were detained.



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