GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 216

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 216 September 2008

In Dukchun City, a Child Who Ate a Peach Is In Critical Condition
The Homeless Boy (Kkotjebi) Who Stole Corn Was Shot
There Is No Punishment for the Guilty In Spite Of a Homeless Child’s Death
An Adult Homeless Stealing Corn, Died from the Beating He Received
Welfare Institution of Eunduk County Has Moved to a Bigger Place Due To the Increasing Number of Homeless
An Old Man Committed Suicide Because of the Death of His Grandchild



In Dukchun City, a Child Who Ate a Peach Is In Critical Condition
Since August 26th, casualties have been increasing because peaches from farms in Dukchun city, South Pyongan Province, are contaminated with DDT. Children who ate peaches while playing at the farm became ill with high fevers for no apparent reason. Some of them actually fainted and died. The fruit tree-collective farm of Dukchun city took preventive measures and used DDT to stop the dramatic increase of bugs on peach trees. DDT has been used in the past to kill insects on fruit. However, the usage of DDT was prevented because of its known damage to the human body. Nevertheless, the Fruit-Production administration still used DDT on peach trees. Children who suffer from hunger rush to eat the peaches without washing them and are suffering as a result. Children with weak immune systems get sick, causing death in 12 children. Even adults with get sick seriously if their immunities are not strong. Because of this, factories, companies and schools are preventing residents and children from approaching peach trees. On the other hand, the administration is looking for ways to protect the peach-farms from the enormous bug infestation.

The Homeless Boy (Kkotjebi) Who Stole Corn Was Shot
At midnight on August 14th, there was a gun shot at Fisheries Enterprise of Chungarm District, Chungjin city. There were many guards surrounding the factory because marine products such as dried seaweed and dried common squid are stored there. From August 14th to 16th there were even armed guards due to Independence Day on August 15th. Police officers who heard gunfire sounds at midnight found a homeless boy (Kkotjebi) who fell down on the street with a shot to his shoulder. The boy was holding a bag filled with ears of corn. The boy went into the factory to steal corn planted at the corner of Fisheries Enterprise. The boy was sent to the hospital immediately and is still fighting for his life.

There Is No Punishment for the Guilty In Spite Of a Homeless Child’s Death
Early last September, a resident found a dead homeless child at the back of an apartment building, the 12th unit of Sinheung-dong, Hyesan city, Ryanggang Province. According to his group of homeless (Kkotjebis), he went into a house to steal food two days ago. He was beaten to with a battledore. Afterwards, he became sick and died. While the lady of the house went out to pick up her husband after preparing breakfast, three homeless children went into the house and packed food into plastic bags. The housewife screamed with surprise and her husband went after them with a battledore. Two homeless ran away luckily but one boy fell down and his head was struck seriously. The boy suffered severe cuts but could not get any treatment; he died at the back of the apartment with no help or attention. Nobody reported the man who struck the boy and therefore his crime went unpunished. The fact that he killed a boy seemed to go completely unnoticed. This is because the homeless child has no name, family or home. In front of Hyesan station, there are many children with external wounds that are caused from beatings they receive while stealing food. Many of them have chapped hands or walk lame. Despite this, they do not receive any medical treatment, so their wounds become infected.

An Adult Homeless Stealing Corn, Died from the Beating He Received
On August 26th, in Hamheung city, South Hamgyoung Province, five cabins on a train carrying corn from the support bureau were getting ready to leave. However, 20 adult homeless noticed the trucks were filled with corn so went to steal them, and were caught by soldiers. They were beaten and one person died. The soldiers threw the body into a dumping ground off of Hamheung station and left in a hurry the next day, because they thought it would be harder to secure the corn if people found out that the cabins contained food. Young homeless lose their minds and become determined to steal corn. When the train left a 12 year old hung on the cabin in attempt to obtain a bag of corn, but his legs were caught between the train wheels. He was transported to the county-hospital and saved, but lost his legs and is suffering greatly from the pain.

Welfare Institution of Eunduk County Has Moved to a Bigger Place Due To the Increasing Number of Homeless
The number of homeless children is also increasing in Eunduk County, North Hamgyong Province. The rate from August is higher than last spring. In general, boys become homeless when they do not receive enough care from their fathers, after their mothers leave home. There are about 45 to 50 homeless children (Kkotjebis) in the county. The county party of Eunduk is planning to move its welfare institution to a bigger place and repair the current building. Thus, all the factories and enterprises in the county must be responsible for a portion of labor and materials.

An Old Man Committed Suicide Because of the Death of His Grandchild
As the season is changing, an increasing number of people are going to the mountains to pick pine nuts. An old man, Choi Young-ho, who lives in Gyowon-ri, Chungarm District in Chungjin city, North Hamgyong province, also went to the mountain on August 29 with his 14 year old, grand-son. The boy usually climbs very well and went up a tree to pick pine nuts, but accidentally fell down and died. Mr. Choi, who witnessed his grandson’s death, experienced emotional trauma due to a guilty conscience because he failed to stop his grandson’s death, so he committed suicide immediately by angling himself with the strap from his bag. According to the residents of that area, there are often fatal accidents when people pick pine nuts. Many go to the mountain at 4 am and come back around 9 or 10 pm in order to avoid being noticed by the forest enforcement officials. Pine nuts make people full thanks to the fat they possess. People say, “Korean white pine is better than the Party’s care,” with one accord. This is why people can’t stop going for pine nuts, even though it is dangerous.

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