North Korea Today No.183

No. 183 August 2008
National Defense Committee Begins Surprise Investigations in Moosan County
In News Lecture, Announcement that Ferry Mankyongbong No. 92 Will Resume Service

Holds Public Trial to Prevent Border-Crossing
Farm Worker Arrested For Selling Stolen Military Cows
Female Tutor Sentenced to a
Discipline Center

The Anti-Socialism Activities Inspection by Central Government in

Arrested for
Reading Palms

Forest Department of
North Hamgyong Province Ordering Care of Trees
Students of the Choi Hyun School for Military Officers Punished for Stealing Chickens
(Image by Google earth)
National Defense Committee Begins Surprise Investigations in Moosan County
On July 16th, the National Defense Committee (국방위원회) began investigations in Moosan County, North Hamgyong without notice. The primary target was wealthy individuals making money through cooperation with the National Security Agency(보위부), Police Station(보안서), or National Border Guard (국경 경비대). Suspects were secretly arrested and their houses were searched. One house was found to have over 100,000 dollars in cash and another house contained many cell phones. Those who had many cell phones were identified as spies and investigated more severely.

In addition, people who have hosted tourists and others from outside of the region were investigated, because they are thought to have been involved in spreading domestic news. The rumors are that people who are charged with stealing national secrets and sharing them with foreigners are harshly sentenced. Some of the suspects managed to escape, but others were surprised by the arrests and taken into custody.

In News Lecture, Announcement that Ferry Mankyongbong No. 92 Will Resume Service
On July 17th, workers at a bus factory in Chungjin, North Hamkyong, received an announcement about the ferry Mankyongbong No. 92 resuming service to Japan. The announcer was the head of the workshop unit (직맹위원장), who said that in early June, they negotiated with Japan to have Mankyongbong No. 92 begin running again. He said, “The ambition of Japanese imperialism succumbed to Choson’s undefeatable power. They abused North Korean-Japanese (총련) and Korean-Japanese students(재일학생). Our Leader’s strategy and wisdom made them scared. Now, North Korean-Japanese and Korean-Japanese students can freely go back and forth from here to Japan. As long as we have our Leader, nobody will defeat us.”

Eunduk County Holds Public Trial to Prevent Border-Crossing
On July 5th, in Obong Mine, Eunduk County, North Hamkyong, seven women who had returned from China were put on trial in public. The trial was intended to discourage anyone from crossing the border due to the food shortage. The police emphasized that China has placed many security guards on the border during the Olympic Games in August. Residents were warned that the guards would now definitely arrest them if they tried to cross the border.

In the meantime, on July 11th, there was another public trial at the Ontan Community Cultural Center (온탄군중문화회관) in Onsung County. Three people were forcibly repatriated from China, two who were involved in human trafficking and seven who had crossed the boarder. Ontan-gu residents Jung Young-rim (45), Han Young-oak (32) and Chae Oak-sook (28) were sentenced to 2 years of reeducation for having gone to China. Joowon-gu residents Hong Ken-hyuk (43) and Ji gwang-soo (39) were sentenced to 7 years of reeducation for their involvement in human trafficking. Seven people, including Yang Cheol-soo, were sentenced to 3 years of reeducation for crossing the border multiple times.

Farm Worker Arrested For Selling Stolen Military Cows
Han Cheol-soo (42), a farm worker in Bukchang County of South Pyongan Province, was arrested for having sold three cows stolen from a military lot in the last two months. Han, who was aided by his brother-in-law, intended to make a profit and prepare for his brother-in-law’s engagement ceremony by selling cows in the market by a brook. However, at 2 PM on the day of engagement ceremony, safety officers made a raid on the site of the engagement ceremony. Han and his brother-in-law came to the attention of an investigation into the theft after officers discovered their collusion with a soldier who was charged with taking care of the cows on the base. At the very site of the engagement ceremony, Han Cheol-soo and his brother-in-law were arrested and the ceremony hall changed into a scene of heartbreak. Officers in the rear base are intimidating farm directors by claiming damages and requesting six tons of food in the coming fall.

In addition, Choi Myong-keun (31) and Choi Bong-keun (29), residents of Changpyong-gu in Onsung County of North Hamkyong Province, were caught stealing cows for food on the 4th of July. They pulled a cow to a hill, then killed the animal and ate it. The two men were discovered after they sold meat at cheap prices to houses in Onsung. They receved a sentence at a preliminary trial at the detention center of Security Agency and were delivered to the office of National Security Agency.

Female Tutor Sentenced to a Discipline Center
At Ryonggang town (룡강읍) in South Pyongan Province, accordion teacher Chae Hwa-sook (41), began private teaching this year when living under food shortages became too difficult. At first, she began teaching only one or two students. But as rumor spread about her good teaching abilities, the number of students grew to twenty-four. When the police heard of this news, they gave Chae a warning for her tutoring, but she only pretended to comply and continued on with her tutoring. As a result, on July 5, Chae was arrested and sentenced to six months in a discipline center(단련대). Neighborhood people say, “What Chae did was displeasing to the police. She should not have become obsessed with the fun of making money. She should have given something to the police in order to keep a successful business, but she did not do that. She must not have known this since she had just started her tutoring business”.

The Anti-Socialism Activities Inspection by Central Government in Sinuiju
In Sinuiju, the end has finally come to the 70-day Anti-Socialism Activities Inspection (비사그루빠 검열) by the central government. This investigation was primarily focused on companies that do business with the military. Based on the investigation, judicial authorities have sentenced two people to death, given sixteen people life sentences, and carried out preliminary hearings on the rest.

Arrested for Reading Palms
Jang Tae-gyong (48 years), a palm reader and fortune teller, was arrested by the National Security Agency for receiving money for his work at the Hyangdang-ri Farm (향당리 농장) in Onsung County of the North Hamgyong Province. He was accused of numbing and clouding his client’s minds and spreading the word of Anti-Socialism.

Forest Department of North Hamgyong Province Ordering Care of Trees
The Forest Department (산림처) of North Hamgyong Province held a conference in Chungjin City on the care of forests within the province. The conference, which was attended by the director of the Forest Bureau (산림국) of the Central Party, focused on preparation for insect damage and additional efforts to take care of tree plantings. Authorities also announced that they would be cracking down on those who cut down protected trees and use them for firewood without permission. As a result, on July 9th the Forest Department started measures designed to prevent insect damage and vowed to reinforce the crackdown on cutting trees without permission.

Students of the Choi Hyun School for Military Officers Punished for Stealing Chickens
Students at the Choi Hyun School for Military Officers, who were staying in Taechun County while participating in mobile attack training, stole twelve chickens from a farmer’s house. The students ate the chickens with the director of training and went back to school. But farmers reported the theft to the department of educational affairs. Those students who stole chickens were punished for having damaged the relationship between the military and citizens. The students, who had been looking forward to graduating this coming fall, failed to do so and had to return to their previous military units.

Students Caught Watching South Korean Dramas Sent to a Labor Discipline Center
In early July, five first-year students at the Machinery Vocational School (기계전문학교) in Onsung County of North Hamgyong Province were caught watching South Korean dramas. They were meeting at a student’s house near the school, where they watched popular South Korean dramas. The students were taken to the police station, and after the preliminary hearing, were sentenced to six months at a labor discipline center(노동단련대).

Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
If you need further information, please contact

Good Friends (Korea)
Good Friends USA (Washington, DC)
Tel: 1-202-824-0788/1-301-455-9196(D)