GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

.

North Korea Today No. 348 July 2010

[“Good Friends” aims to help the North Korean people from a humanistic point of view and publishes “North Korea Today” describing the way the North Korean people live as accurately as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]
_________________________________________________________
After 2 years, Professional Counterfeiters in Pyongsung Finally Arrested
Students at Cho Goon-sil Teachers College are out for Herb Collection Break due to Food Crisis
Jung Juntaek Economics College in Wonsan reduced to Two Provided Meals a Day
Even Honor Students Drop out due to Food Shortage in Wonhaeju Agricultural College in Kimjae
Farm Youth Group is Strictly Watched on a Cooperative Farm in Kang Won Province
Who are the members of the Farm Youth Group in Kangwon Province?
_________________________________________________________
After 2 years, Professional Counterfeiters in Pyongsung Finally Arrested
This past June 1st, the Pyongsung City police succeeded in arresting 7 people involved in a professional counterfeiting operation. 4 out of 7 were women. Working out of a hidden location within the city, they were counterfeiting travel documents, Pyongyang residency proofs, Renminbi, dollars, and the new North Korean currency. Among those arrested included an employee of the Pyongsung currency printing press. After searching through their location, the authorities found about 5.8 million Won’s worth of counterfeit bills of new NK currency, dollar, and Renminbi, along with about 10 printing presses, 3 computer printers, and other tools.

The Pyongsung investigators are interrogating the suspects separately, assuming that they would have a distribution network that spans all over the country, including major cities such as Pyongyang, Sinuiju, Hyesan, and Chungjin. They are narrowing their investigative focus to those working in export/import firms, related factories, and those who deal with travel permission documents. One investigator expressed amazement at the sophistication of the counterfeit bill, saying that there is no way to tell the real and fake ones apart just with the naked eye. “Because of the charges from the international community about us printing counterfeit bills, the Defense Security Command and The National Safety and Security Agency formed a joint investigative unit to catch the perpetrators, but couldn’t track them down,” spoke one of senior police officials. “We were fortuitous in catching these people because we came across them when the local police were actually interrogating drug offenders.” After the investigation is over, the investigators involved can expect a significant promotion.

Students at Cho Goon-sil Teachers College are out for Herb Collection Break due to Food Crisis
After the May 26 directive, which ordered institutions to supply its own food, Cho Goon-sil Teacher’s College in Wonsan City in Kangwon Province decided to have a school break with herb collection assignment to its students as they return from farm mobilization. The students were assigned to collect 10kg of herb and given 15 to 20 days of unscheduled break. Since late January, the university started feeding students and staff with noodle made of corn harvested in its sideline farm because the university’s food rations were suspended. They were able to provide three meals a day until February. However in March, they were only able to provide breakfast and lunch. The university was relieved from providing food in May because of the farm mobilization. However, the problem returned once the farm mobilization ended. Officials of the university support department said, “We can’t help but give the students breaks because we can’t feed the students who return to school after the farm mobilization.”

Jung Juntaek Economics College in Wonsan reduced to Two Provided Meals a Day
After the May 26 directive, the Jung Juntaek Economics College in Wonsan City in the Kangwon Province reduced its meals to two meals a day. The school provides breakfast and lunch, but the students have to take care of their own dinners. Students who live in the dormitory bought rice cookers and pans to prepared their own meals. Some of the students prepared their meals in secret before, but these days all the students are busy preparing their meals at night. The washroom in the dormitory is experiencing shortage of water due to the influx of students who come to wash the rice. Wealthy students visit restaurants or boarding houses that have agreed to prepare their dinners.

Even Honor Students Drop out due to Food Shortage in Wonhaeju Agricultural College in Kimjae
Of the first and second year students at Kimjae Wonhaeju Agricultural College in the South Hwanghae Province, more than 20 students have dropped out due to food shortage. Among them were three students who scored in the top ten on the achievement test. Since the May 26 directive, Kimjae Wonhaeju Agricultural College has cut its meals from three to two meals a day. Until June 11, they were able to provide three meals, although they were small amounts of steamed corn meal. However, since June 12, students were asked to provide their own dinners. Students who receive help from home pool their money together and prepare their meals. Wealthy students go off campus and buy breads or noodles. However, the number of families supporting the student decreased due to the currency exchange measure. As a result, more students are unable to continue their education. Aside from food, non-tax burdens and other educational fees heavily burden the parents. No matter how well they do in school, the students cannot avoid the financial problems. With even some of the honor students dropping out of school, students are saying, “What’s the use of doing well in school? We can’t do anything without money.”

Farm Youth Group is Strictly Watched on a Cooperative Farm in Kang Won Province
Concerns are arising that the restrictions imposed on a Farm Youth Group composed of kkotjebi children at a cooperative farm in Pyonggang County Kangwon Province are excessively severe. The County Party officials are dispatching Youth Union officials every ten days to the farm to monitor the Farm Youth Group. The officials prohibit Farm Youth Group members from going anywhere besides their bedroom and work place. Even visiting a neighbor’s house nearby requires official permission. If they leave the farm without prior permission, they must face ideological criticism and a severe reprimand. Villagers and farmers in the area criticize the officials’ poor management, claiming that the Farm Youth Group cannot function properly because the officials treat them no better than individuals in the Labor Discipline Centers.

Who are the members of the Farm Youth Group in Kangwon Province?
The Farm Youth Group in Pyonggang City, Kangwon Province was established in 2007. The city council recruited impoverished middle school students who were part of youth kkotjebi rescue facilities. The group originally consisted of 40 individuals all below the age of 26. The number decreased to 20 people in 2010 because members got married and left the group. Three 5th graders were chosen by the city council to bring membership to 23 people. The children do not go to school but perform work supported by the city council. Some farmers criticized the council’s selection of 5th grader kkotjebies for work as they are considered too young to work, but the council replied that sending the children back to school would fail because they would escape again and continue to be kkotjebies once more. The council dismissed the criticism and justified the decision by arguing that sending the children to work in the farm from the very beginning benefits everyone.
There was an error in this gadget