◆ Regime extremely wary of information from the outside world

“Eradicate impurities.” That was the direct order of Kim Jong-un. In an internal document obtained by ASIAPRESS, this order was often referred to in the outline of the policy for cracking down on foreign media.

The 109 Sangmu, which is charged with leading this crackdown, often has its officers search entire houses to see if there are any “impure goods” hidden away. According to the reporting partner, “Two Chinese films were supposedly found on a USB in the deceased man’s house.”

The reporting partner went on to explain that local residents are strongly opposed to the activities of the 109 Sangmu, as its officers recklessly enter people’s homes and blatantly demand bribes.

“A friend of mine was caught by the 109 Sangmu watching a Chinese film and was told ‘Choose whether you want to go to prison or pay 2,000 Chinese yuan.’”

※ 2,000 Chinese yuan is roughly equivalent to 350,000 Korean won

The reporting partner further explained that the 109 Sangmu’s demands for bribes have become alarmingly blatant since late January, when the Chinese border was sealed to prevent the inflow of the coronavirus.

“Because the border blockade has stopped trade, caused the economy to stagnate, and drastically reduced other sources of bribery, so the officers are now making money under the pretext of eradicating illegal activity. The crackdown is several times worse than before the coronavirus.” (Kang Ji-won)

※ ASIAPRESS contacts its reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters
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