GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 210

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
No. 210 September 2008
Soldiers Argued and Fought while Trying To Steal Corn
In Joorye Market, Pyongsung, a Group Fight Between Market Managers and Trade Women
Residents in Demolished Areas with No Money Cannot Receive a House
71 Year-Old Man Killed Himself after Being Kicked Out of His Home
Ahnju Fertilizer Factory Stopped its Operation since July 20
Person Returning Home From Japan Runs Away on a Boat
The Dukchun Automobile Company Host a Ceremony Following “Dear General’s Measures”



Soldiers Argued and Fought while Trying To Steal Corn
When soldiers of a light infantry battalion based in Jeoncheon County (전천군), Jagang Province, stole corn from a cornfield belonging to a military base in Manpo City, they ended up in a fight with the security guards on duty. When the soldiers went to Manpo City to do a logging operation, they became hungry and stole the corn at the farm around the logging area. When soldiers of Manpo City guarding the field found the thieves, they tried to stop them and began to fight. Because of their disadvantage in numbers, the guards were brutally beaten and some even killed.

When the Defense Security Command(보위사령부) received a report or this incident, they arrested all the soldiers involved in the fight as well as their commanding officers. Soldiers of the light infantry battalion often work in physically challenging jobs such as mining, which has earned them a reputation for being the more rugged group in the military. This is a group where the power of your fist matter more than the ribbons and insignias on your uniform. Nevertheless, it is also notorious for its discipline and loyalty among its members. When their commander was arrested, the soldiers of this battalion quit logging, stole corn, and killed livestock in the village. Although the Defense Security Command warned them several times, their intended violence did not decrease, and eventually resulted in all the arrested officers and soldiers being returned to the logging area.

In Joorye Market, Pyongsung, a Group Fight Between Market Managers and Trade Women
Last August 17, there was a group fight between women traders and the market managers in Joorye Market, Pyongsung. When women traders were prohibited from entering the market they started trading in the alley and around the public buildings. The managers inspected them and began to fight with them. When the market managers prohibited them from trading in order to control disorder in the market, the traders complained and began to fight by scratching their faces and pulling the women’s hair. Curious bystanders who witnessed this fight cheered for the trade women. Some people cursed the managers by saying, “They unrightfully prevented the women from trading. They might as well have killed the women instead.” The chief of the managers reported this incident to the police, but the fight was over when police officers arrived at the site. As the food shortage worsens and the trading policies come under tighter control, the women traders’ resistance is becoming more and more prevalent.

Residents in Demolished Areas with No Money Cannot Receive a House
Since April 18 of this year, houses along the railroad between East Sariwon and Seoheung Station, North Hwanghae Province, have been demolished. Now the evacuated residents are living in shacks and huts. Because the authority demolished their houses without securing enough temporary housing, about 200 residents were forced to make and live in huts on the mountains or riversides. Staff of 1210 Construction Enterprise provided good building sites to residents who bribed them with items like packs of cigarettes. Although the authority tried to give residents housing sites in any cases, most residents who do not have money to build a house cannot even imagine possessing their own house. Of 200 households, only about 60 is building their house, while the others are living in huts without any concrete promise for their own houses. Ko Byong-soon (55) deplored, “When it is hard to have a meal a day, how can I dare to dream of building my house? It is terrible to think of this unchanged living condition.”

71 Year-Old Man Killed Himself after Being Kicked Out of His Home

On August 13, Lee, Duk-soo (71) of Cheonggye-ri (청계리), Bongsan County, North Hwanghae Province, killed himself by hanging. After his house was struck down and cleared away, he was forced to live in a hut. And during the Spring Hardship Period (춘궁기) his wife died from brain hemorrhage. Although he has a son, the son’s situation was too desperate for him to raise the question whether he could live with the son. With his wife passed away, he had no one to turn to. He lived forty more days, then hung himself on a tree branch that had supported the hut.

Before killing himself, the old man Lee Duk-soo often expressed his dissatisfaction toward the government of its policy of removing houses without any countermeasure. Those people whose houses had also been cleared away filed a complaint with the Provincial Party, indicating, “The reason the old man Lee Duk-soo killed himself was because he lost all sense of security when his house was struck down. There is no guarantee that another Lee Duk-soo would not happen.” The Secretary of Organization of Provincial Party, North Hwanghae Province, called a meeting of administrative officials from Sariwon City, Bongsan County, Shingye County, and other areas. They investigated the situation of the people who lost their houses and discussed possible countermeasures. As a result, they decided, “the area plants should build houses within 16 days and have the people who live in the huts along the road relocate to the new houses as soon as possible. The supervisor of the unit that was unable to build the houses within 16 days will be fired,” it warned.

Ahnju Fertilizer Factory Stopped its Operation since July 20
From July 20 to present (end of August), the Ahnju Fertilizer Factory, South Pyongan Province, was unable to produce any fertilizer. From the first half of this year, the laborers did not receive any food distribution even when the factory was producing. Now all production has stopped, and the workers have stopped reporting to work. While the factory was producing, they were able to survive without receiving ration by pilfering fertilizers. However, now there is nothing to salvage from the factory. The Chief and the Unit Supervisors visited the laborers at their homes, and told them, “if you are not going to report to work, you better bring same amount of fertilizer you stole from the factory.” The laborers laughed at them, as they considered the pilfered fertilizer to be in place of the food rations they did not receive. Gong Cheol-ho (41) was outraged and said, “How can they say that to people who eat only porridge twice a day? They should be begging us to come back to work, not yelling at us when they don’t even have food rations to give out. Who do they think they are? Their stomach is full and their back is warm, and so they don’t care how hard it is for us.”

Person Returning Home From Japan Runs Away on a Boat
On August 2nd, Kim, In-soo (48) and his family, who had returned to this country (from Japan), ran away on a boat (전마선). Kim obtained a boat and used it for fishing squids with his brother, Kim, Myong-soo (46). This year, although there were plenty of squids, there were too many boats catching squids as well, and consequently, Kim was unable to catch much. He got permission to advance to Bangjin-dong, Chungam District. He took his whole family to Bangjin-dong for fishing but after fifteen days they suddenly disappeared. The Kim brothers and their families’ disappearance were not noticed until the next day, August 3rd. Authorities suspect that they had gone out to the public sea and were rescued by a foreign boat and went to Japan. The Security office of Bangjin-dong had heightened the surveillance of people that had returned (from Japan) and spot-checked the overnight stay registration. Those officials that authorized Kim brothers to go far out into the sea were reprimanded, and the Security Unit Chief and Vice Chief who received money and allowed the Kim brothers to go out far into the sea were discharged.

The Dukchun Automobile Company Host a Ceremony Following “Dear General’s Measures”
The Dukchun Seungri Automobile Company, South Pyongan Province, host a ceremony following “Dear General’s Measures (장군님 방침 전달 모임).” According a staff’s statement, Chairman Kim Jong-Il who received a report about problems in the automobile companies issued measures to improve productivity by inputting “money of the Party to solve the current issues.” At the ceremony, the company’s executives appealed, “Every worker must admire the General’s intention and contribute to making a great country.” The work units of the company made an oath to this affect everyday.

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