Pyongyang is a ‘staged city’, where outsiders are not privy to glimpses of everyday life. But Pyongyang is home to a large number of Kotchebi, homeless people. An ASIAPRESS partner in Pyongyang, Koo Kwang-ho, filmed the extremely poor people in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, in 2011.
A boy, eating bread given by a neighbor at a back alley behind apartments, said that “My stepfather said he couldn’t afford to feed me, so he beat me and kicked me out.”
In Taesongsan Park, in a suburb of Pyongyang, children were enjoying an outing to a park and a young guy picked up food they drop.
A grandmother and a grandson, after being kicked out by her son-in-law because he couldn’t afford to feed them anymore, lived in an air-raid shelter trace in a suburb of Pyongyang. They hide in a hillside in an effort to evade detention by the state security. There was neither electricity nor window, so it was pitch dark.
According to Koo Kwang-ho, ‘Kotchebi’ in Pyongyang, not in rural areas, can easily get caught and sent to the detention centers. The regulations are tougher in the capital city because it attracts a number of foreign tourists. Therefore, ‘Kotchebi’ find it hard to even roam around the city during daytime.
‘Kotchebi’ living in Pyongyang, the beautifully organized ‘revolutionary capital’, always need to evade the state security.
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