GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 158

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


North Korea Today 158th 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.”


Worries Precede Delights In a new potato season
Drunken Soldier Killed by Police Officers at a Police Substation
Suspicion of Homicide through Assault at a Detention Center in Hyesan
A Bus accident of the Mobile Police Forces 116 of Chungjin in Saebyul County
A Ship of Kyongpo Fisheries Enterprise Sank and There’re Casualties


Worries Precede Delights In a New Potato Season
At last new potato crops began to appear in Backam, Eunduk, Samjiyeon and Daehongdan, Ryanggang Province as well as Jagang Province. Residents should be delighted with the news because they can relieve their hunger, but they say instead that they are worried more than delighted because the thieves become extremely active. They can cope with a few of ordinary thieves and if they catch them, they can take them to a police station. But what the residents worry most is the People’s Army stationed in the jurisdiction. The People’s Army digs and takes potatoes day and night as if they planted the potatoes. What’s worse is that they tread on the potato sprouts while digging. Because they are soldiers, the residents have no power to complain or stop it. As a result the resident’s grievances, “Potato fields belong to soldiers” are getting higher. As of the end of June, frozen potatoes (not new potatoes) are sold at 800 won per kg and powder made of potato peels at 500 won per kg in the market.

Drunken Soldier Killed by Police Officers at a Police Substation
There was an accidental homicide through assault due to a conflict between a drunken People’s Army soldier and a resident in Pyongsung, South Pyongan Province. In front of the Pyongsung Station, a drunken soldier, bumping against a resident who was passing by, provoked a quarrel with the resident. A quarrel that started by saying “Why did you hit me?” and “When did I hit you?” came to blows, leading to a fight. When a police officer of the substation came out to stop the quarrel, the drunken soldier leaped even at the police officer, saying “How dare you try to boss me around?” A few more officers came out from the police substation to restrain the soldier. However, even in the police substation, the soldier was outrageous and impudent. He overturned a desk and shouted all kinds of abuses, provoking the police officers to anger. The police officers who were not able to control their anger rushed to the drunken soldier and beat him. The soldier was taken to a hospital and died after 4 hours due to ruptured spleen.

Residents’ reaction to this news was generally cold and indifferent. Kwon Hyeuk-cheol (47) plainly expressed his dissatisfaction with soldiers, saying “A soldier who drinks in the middle of the day and assaults innocent residents deserve to be beaten and die. The government should strictly regulate soldiers’ behaviors. In the army, drinking, assault, stealing, rape and desertion is widespread. What kind of a society is this? The army that harasses people does not need to exist in the country.”

Suspicion of Homicide through Assault at a Detention Center in Hyesan
On June 17, in Hyesan, Ranggang Province, Oh Jae-duk (54), a worker guidance officer of an Integrated Service Center(종합편의관리소), died of a heart attack while being interrogated at a detention center. He was under investigation on suspicions of cheating and selling various goods without permission, abusing his authority. The Security Bureau informed that he suddenly stopped breathing due to a heart attack, but his family claimed that they suspect use of violence in the process of interrogation.

A Bus accident of the Mobile Police Forces 116 of Chungjin in Saebyul County
On June 20, a traffic accident took place at a downhill slope in a farm belonging to the 2nd working team of Bongsan-ri (봉산리2작업반). Mobile Police Forces 116 bus of Chungjin (청진116기동대버스) was on its way to Saebyul from Chungjin, moving down the meandering road, when it overturned due to a problem in the brake. This accident killed three and wounded six. These casualties were conveyed to a hospital nearby in Saebyul County.

A Ship of Kyongpo Fisheries Enterprise Sank and There’re Casualties
On June 10, a fishing ship belonging to Kyongpo Fisheries Enterprise in Shinpo County of South Hamkyong Province sank. The ship, full of octopus and squid with an approximate weight of five tons, sank on her way back. Three out of nine sailors survived this accident, and the remaining six are still missing. This accident is presumed to be due to an overload: 5 ton load on a ship of 2.5-3 ton capacity.



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