GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 234

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 234 October 2008
The Accidental Death of a Discharged Soldier
A Homeless Boy Dies in a Train Incident
Fire in Home Results in Stricter Fuel Sales
Army Base Loses 600 kg of Fuel Due To Fire
A Dispatched Construction Worker Deserts His Assignment
A Son’s Death Destroys His Family


The Accidental Death of a Discharged Soldier
A female soldier, who had recently been discharged from the military, fell from a train and died on her way to Pyongyang on September 21.

Earlier, when the train crew checked her ticket, she showed her discharge certificate and said "I am going back to my hometown. I did not buy the ticket." The train crew tried to force her to buy a ticket. The disagreement led to a fight between the two of them. When the train crew was losing the fight, other workmen rushed to the scene and forcibly pushed her out of the train. Although the train was running at a slow speed, she ended up breaking two legs and had massive bleeding. She died one hour after she was taken to the hospital. This incident was reported to the central office, leading to the arrest of the train crew. All other train workmen were dishonorably discharged from the work, as they shared responsibility for her death.

A Homeless Boy Dies in a Train Incident
Around 6:00 pm on September 27, a homeless boy was pinned under sacks of corn on the train returning to Chungjin city from Kyongsung city, North Hamgyong Province. The train was packed with passengers as well as goods. Four soldiers got on the corner of the train, which seemed empty and dark, with three 50 kg sacks of corns. They pushed their way through the crowd and sat down, only noticing later on that they were sitting on someone. They held up the light from a cigarette lighter and found the homeless boy, groaning in pain under the corn sacks. The soldiers were flustered and removed the sacks to look at the boy. He was unable to make a sound because of his crushed head and his nose and mouth were bleeding continuously. His face was covered with blood. Shortly after the soldiers found the unconscious child, the train stopped to take him to the hospital. However, he died even before physicians had a chance to look at the boy.

Fire in Home Results in Stricter Fuel Sales
On September 26, in the Pohang District located in the city of Chungjin of North Hamgyong Province, a fire started in the home of Lim Jong-cheol (38 years old) in the middle of the night. Despite the efforts of fire rescue workers, the Lim couple and their children died in the blaze. Thankfully, the quick response allowed the firefighters to put out the fire quickly and prevent it from spreading to neighboring homes. Lim has been selling oil and thus had stocked up fuel and diesel in his home, resulting in this accident. Due to this tragic event, the government has begun to watch the selling of gas starting on September 29.

Army Base Loses 600 kg of Fuel Due To Fire
An army vehicle caught on fire at a service station in the Chungarm District located in the city of Chungjin during the afternoon of September 29. When the car garage caught on fire, two firetrucks and another standby vehicle arrived at the scene. Three soldiers who worked to put out the fire have suffered severe burns and are in a coma. This fire has resulted in a loss of radishes, cabbages, and 600kg of fuel that were stocked for autumn combat supplies.

A Dispatched Construction Worker Deserts His Assignment
The Urban Construction Enterprise (UCE) located in Yeansa County, North Hamgyong Province had been petitioned in mid-August to send two workers to the construction site of the Samsu power plant at Mt. Baekdu. As no one volunteered for these positions, manager-level officials decided to provide those workers who were to be selected with an extra cash reward. After discussions, two workers were eventually selected and each person received a bonus of 200,000 NK won. However, the workers who were sent in mid-August have not yet arrived at the Samsu construction site and the UCE has been under constant pressure to supply personnel. Families of these selected workers said that they had already left but Samsu office claimed that they have not yet arrived. Furthermore, authorities continue to press the UCE to swiftly dispatch the personnel. UCE officials are in a tough situation; they already collected money from other workers to reward the previously selected people so it will be difficult for them to afford the reward. In addition, it cannot be guaranteed that newly picked workers would not run away.

A Son’s Death Destroys His Family
Jang Deuk-sin, a 29-year old resident of Danchun in South Hamgyong Province, recently came back home from his 10-year military service. During his service, Jang was unable to visit his family when his father was in a critical condition and even missed his father’s funeral because he could not afford traveling expenses. Jang returned to his family with deep sorrow about his father’s death and received a tearful and warm welcome from his mother and sister. His mother, who was weak from hunger, has been taken care of by his sister. All three family members embraced each other and wailed with deep sorrow about their bitter memories.

Due to the strained living situation, Jang visited and entreated the Municipal Party to help his family. After several visits, the Municipal Party assigned Jang to a nearby coal mine with some advice concerning self-reliance. The coal mine where Jang was assigned was too far from his home to commute, so he had to stay in a boarding house. Since he lived far away from his family, he could not take care of his mother and sister. Jang desperately petitioned the secretary of the Party’s Organization and Guidance and implored him to save his mother. Despite his efforts, Jang was informed that there was no way to help him. In desperation, Jang drank to excess on that night and it caused a heart attack.

After a short period of joy from having her son back, Jang’s mother mourned over her son’s sudden death. A few days later, the mother who was overcome with deep grief finally hung herself. The grieving sister, who was left alone, spoke out about her family’s tragic death, “If Party authorities showed a bit of concern, neither my mother nor my brother would have suddenly died.” The security authorities who heard of her sorrow arrested Jang’s sister for humiliating the Party and warned people, “they are a rebellious family. Do not circulate the story among others.”

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