GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 354 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.]
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Strict Control on Residents Using Cell Phones on Mountains in Hoeryung
Hoeryong city Implements Stricter control over Illegal cell phone Usage because of Recent Propaganda Leaflet incident
Tightened up Security Checks at Chungjin, Heoryung, Onsung in North Hamgyong Province
Pyungsung National Border Security Command Implemented Night Vision Goggle Operation Training

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Strict Control on Residents Using Cell Phones on Mountains in Hoeryung
Moon Ji-Young (alias, age: 37), a member of Democratic Women’s Union of KangAn-dong in Hoeryung city, was arrested by security officers when she went on Sopoong Mountain on June 25 to call her relative in China. Due to increased control on cell phone use, she could not make a phone call in the city. Sopoong Mountain, located behind Hoeryung city police station, is a popular destination among residents because its elevation facilitates cell phone use. Noticing this phenomenon, the security department placed security officers in every corner to check passers-by whose attire looks unsuitable for small plot farming. Ms. Moon also got arrested in this way right on the spot while making a phone call. She confessed that despite knowing cell phone use was illegal she had to make a phone call to her relative for help because her family was starving.
More than ten people got arrested while using cell phones from June 10 to 25. National Security Department and the City Security Department are tracking down cell phone users who make international phone calls to China and strengthening the educational ideology campaign during the first half of this year. Residents are complaining against the severe control and appealing for condoning of phone calls for economic help. However, the authority regards cell phone use makes misleading rumors spread out, which gives wrong images of the nation. The authority is determined to crackdown on cell phone use even harder.

Hoeryong city Implements Stricter control over Illegal cell phone Usage because of Recent Propaganda Leaflet incident
On June 25th, around 3am, propaganda leaflets were scattered throughout many streets of Hoeryong city, North Hamgyong province. Most of the leaflets were found in “heavy-traffic” streets such as Sanupdong food street construction sites, bus terminals to and from Chungjin city, and Osandong grocery stores. The front of a leaflet is a copy of new 5,000 won bill showing the portrait of the late Chairman Kim Il-Sung, and the back of a flyer contains a handwritten propaganda stating that “North Korean society is a hell for most of the people and a paradise only for few high-ranking officials” and “do not suffer anymore and come over to the Republic of Korea.” Rangers patrolling the construction sites found the leaflets at issue and immediately reported to the police station, and the police station reported to the City Party immediately. The City Party promptly notified the relevant safety bureaus such as the security department, police station, and the public prosecutors office. Around 4am, they thoroughly searched even to the small alleys to collect the leaflets before dawn. They collected 60 leaflets in total, but suspect that there may be more uncollected flyers. So, they urged people to make a pledge that they shall not see nor disseminate the leaflets. The City Party propaganda department et al. received hand-written pledges from people pledging that “they shall not see the reactionary political propaganda and they shall immediately return the leaflets when found.” Meanwhile, because of this propaganda leaflet incident, the city safety bureaus that focus on the illegal cell phone usage control decided to initiate the national investigation program with the help of the Provincial and the National Party. Starting from July 4th, investigators from the National Security Agency, the Defense Security Command, and other special agencies came to the city for the special mission. They will participate on the investigation program until the propaganda leaflet incident at Hoeryong city is resolved. The Safety Bureaus at issue suspect that South Korea intentionally did it, and thus they enforce even stricter control over those who use cell phone, cross the river, or help crossing the river. The situation is very tense due to the propaganda leaflet incident, so the people are troubled and anxious. The radio detection department under the National Security Agency newly installed the state-of-the-art radio detector in Hoeryong city. A new detector performs well in identifying the location of cell phones when used. Prompted by this political incident, Hoeryong city is determined to eliminate the illegal cell phone usage.

Tightened up Security Checks at Chungjin, Heoryung, Onsung in North Hamgyong Province
Security checks at Chungjin-Heoryung-Onsung, North Hamgyong Province has been tightened since last May. There are three security check points between Chungjin and Heoryung; and anyone who passes through the checkpoint needs to show travel certificate, proof of citizenship and identification card in addition to baggage check. Because they perform a body search for travelling residents from inner part of the country including South Hamgyong Province and South Pyongan Province, it would take at least 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for complete inspection. They crackdown anyone with expired certificate or have no clear birth place. Inspectors in the three check points are notorious for harsh inspection to seize money or merchandise. Residents try not to give up at first but end up giving cigarettes or money so the inspectors would let them go.
Since a period of all-out crackdown of drug trafficking near the border district area in effect, inspection has been more tightened. Last May 23, a woman merchant on a bus was caught carrying 300g of ‘ice’ (methamphetamine) at the check point of the Providential Security Department. Now, inspectors are not hesitant to do a body search in the name of drug trafficking enforcement purpose including stripping women’s underwear which is creating public rage. In order to capture a few drug trafficking women, a large number of women are suffering from the insult and humiliation.

Pyungsung National Border Security Command Implemented Night Vision Goggle Operation Training
Pyungsung National Security Command began the night vision goggle operation training from last April 18. The National Security Command distributed 1,200 night vision goggles and had them practice. After completing training on May 4, they began using night vision goggles on site and had one trained soldier to manage the devices for each check point. The night vision goggles distributed are the 300-400m short distance type. The National Security Command emphasized “We spent lots of reform money to import these from foreign countries in order to eliminate invasion of spies and enemies so we need to fully strengthen the security checkup in the border district” They also promised, “We will continue to strengthen the national border blockade project and we will fully reinforce border control.”

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