(Photo) A young man collects gold at a mineral refinery. Some operations are entrusted to  families to oversee, while other operations are entrusted to individual supervisory officials. Photo taken in October 2008 in Haeju City, South Hwanghae Province by Shim Uicheon (ASIAPRESS).

Multiple reporting partners have reported that a 45 year-old woman was beaten to death on December 5 in the northern city of Hyesan.

According to reports, the woman was beaten to death by a family that runs a goldmine near Hyesan. The victim’s 17 year-old son was working at the goldmine but came under suspicion of theft when the gold reserves were found to be smaller than expected. When the owners of the mine confronted their 17 year-old employee, the boy’s mother stood up for him. It was at this moment, apparently, that the owners of the goldmine assaulted their employee’s mother, beating her to death.

Hyesan city police dispatched a team to investigate the 5 members of the goldmine-owning family that were involved in the murder. Of the 5 suspects, however, only 1 was detained, with the other 4 suspects released. According to reports, the 4 released suspects told the police that the detained member of their family, the owner’s daughter-in-law, is mentally handicapped and was responsible for the woman’s death as they could not control her.

Neighboring residents, however, say they know the real story. They believe that the 4 released members of the family paid off the police with bribes and agreed amongst themselves to pin the crime on their mentally challenged family member.

Next page: Poor people perform hard labor to survive…