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North Korea Today No.185

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No.185 August 2008
Mass Slaughter of Ducks due to a Communicable Disease in Sinuiju
Defector Women Escaped from the Convoy in Nampo
Students Die in a Commuter Train Accident in Gumchun-Hanpo Station
Wealthy Family Murdered and Robbed in Saebyul
Male Student Drowns at Sea While Struggling to Save His Water Bucket
Children Who Went Gathering Shellfish Drown in Sea
Woman at Jeungsan Reeducation Center (증산교화소) Found Dead After Eating Pig Fodder
Arrests for Counterfeit Notes


(Image by Google earth)

Mass Slaughter of Ducks due to a Communicable Disease in Sinuiju
Recently, the North Pyongan Province Sanitary Control performed a mass slaughter of ducks that had contracted a communicable disease on the farm of the 31st Brigade. At the farm, which is in run by a border patrol in Sinuiju city, North Pyongan Province, a unit dispatched by the headquarters of the Sanitary Unit disinfected the contaminated area and burned the duck house. As a result of the controlled fire, 180 ducks and 30 ducklings died. Because Sinuiju is a border city next to China, the Sanitary authorities took extra precautions to prevent the news from spreading. Despite an announcement instructing not to eat the ducks, word spread because some of the employees secretly took them to their house to eat. Also, the soldiers who had been mobilized for the disinfection work ate the ducks.

Defector Women Escaped from the Convoy in Nampo
On July 6, seven women who had defected and been arrested escaped from their transport convoy in Nampo, South Pyongan Province. The incident began when a military police officer stopped the vehicle they were in that morning. The military police officer asked for the reason why they are going into Nampo and a small argument ensued between the policeman and the transportation security officer in charge of the convoy. As the argument continued and the officers became distracted, the refugee women slipped away quietly from the vehicle. The transportation security officer reported to his superiors that these women escaped because of the military police officer who stopped the vehicle; the military policemen submitted a report saying that it is their duty to stop vehicles for inspection, therefore they are not responsible for the incident. In the end, the military police were cleared of responsibility for the incident, while one of the three transportation security officers was pardoned and two of them were dishonorably discharged. The security authorities are in pursuit of the women. However, people who heard the news say that they would not be apprehended easily.

Students Die in a Commuter Train Accident in Gumchun-Hanpo Station
On July 6, there was an accident where two passenger cars of a commuter train, which travels between Gumchun station and Hanpo station, North Hwanghae Province, tumbled down during repair work while it was on a railroad bridge. Onboard were 5th grade middle school students returning home after shooting practice, which was part of their Red youth militia training. Seven children died and 12 were injured in the incident. The Central Party office ordered that medicine be sent from Kim Man-Yoo Hospital to treat the students injured in the accident.

Wealthy Family Murdered and Robbed in Saebyul
On July 11, Mr. Ji Myong-cheol (40) and his entire family were murdered by robbers in Saebyul town, Saebyul County, North Hamgyong Province. Mr. Ji Myong-cheol was found dead on the 12th around 5 P.M. under the Namsan Bridge with his mouth gagged and his body tied. His wife and thirteen-year-old daughter were found stabbed to death in their rooms. The North Hamgyong Province government issued an order instructing, “Solve this case no matter what it takes.” The Province and the County investigation offices launched a joint-investigation into the gruesome incident, starting with an autopsy. Mr. Ji Myong-cheol and his wife were known as one of the wealthiest families, having made a fortune through various businesses and appliance sales. People suspect that the motive must have been financial, saying, “They must have done it for the money.”

Male Student Drowns at Sea While Struggling to Save His Water Bucket
Uhrang Junior High School in Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province requires students from their first year to their senior year to bring life vests for a swimming course at a nearby sea. During the current nationwide food crisis, many households that were struggling to feed their family everyday could not afford a life vest for their children, instead, these parents let their children bring a water bucket. On July 4th, Jeonghyuk, a second year student in the third class, lost his water bucket while swimming in the sea. Jeonghyuk went out further to catch his bucket and was caught in the tide. Shortly thereafter, a teacher who saw him drowning pulled him in. When Jeonghyuk was taken out of the water, he was already unconscious. Seamen who were working nearby heard of the accident and rushed to come and save him. However, it was too late to save his life; Jeonghyuk died. People who heard of this tragic story expressed their pity for him, "Due to the hardships, even young people are losing their lives for valuable goods."

Children Who Went Gathering Shellfish Drown in Sea
Many primary school children in villages by the sea in southern Hwanghae Province gather shellfish. These young children, who have observed their parents suffering from hunger, try to help by going to the beach to gather shellfish rather than going to school. On June 25, five elementary school students who went out to gather shellfish were swept out to sea by the tide and drowned. In the aftermath of the tragic incident, the coast guard of the unit 4 who let the students go into the beach and the chief of the guard post were punished.

Woman at Jeungsan Reeducation Center (증산교화소) Found Dead After Eating Pig Fodder
Many contagious diseases are spreading in a reeducation center in Jeungsan County, South Pyongan Province. The diseases currently infecting residents of the center include malaria, febrile diseases, the Itch (Scabies), tuberculosis, and pellagra. On July 3, two pig-breeding workers of Unit 1 and 5 at the pig-breeding farm died within three days due to pellagra (disease). Later, it was discovered that the two workers had eaten corncobs (옥수수 깡치) from pig fodder in order to relieve their hunger, which caused their death.

Arrests for Counterfeit Notes
Recently, Cha Soon-cheol, a male resident of Saeduk-dong, Soonchun City, South Pyongan Province was arrested without a warrant on a charge of counterfeiting and circulating notes. Reportedly, Cha was arrested while he was transporting a large quantity of goods purchased with counterfeit notes from Pyongsung market to Soonchun market. As counterfeiting usually involves a group of people, authorities have issued an order to expand investigations to trace the entire group that worked with Cha.

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