◆ Police investigate false rumors

The authorities seem to have become more sensitive to the spread of these rumors and complaints. According to reporting partners from various areas, since mid-April, the police and secret police have launched investigations in order to uncover the sources of rumors spreading at the markets.

A reporting partner said, “We have been warned through the local political unit meetings that, ‘It is a crime to spread groundless rumors to others’. We haven’t heard of any arrests regarding the sources of the false rumors yet though.”

In North Korea, “fabrication and dissemination of false rumors” is defined as the following:

“Anyone who creates or disseminates false rumors that may cause social disruption or distrust in the state shall be sentenced to up to 1 year of hard labor” (Article 211 of the 2015 Revised Criminal Code).

Belying the rumors is the disappointment and anxiety over the continued economic sanctions following the failure of the Hanoi summit talks in February.

People’s livelihoods are getting worse day by day but the government has no solutions, instead simply calling for “self-reliance”. As such, the people’s dissatisfaction with the Kim Jong-un regime seems to be growing.

◆ Rumors of the execution of 4 diplomats

In addition, rumors have been spreading that 4 foreign ministry officials have been executed for their role in the breakdown of the Hanoi summit in late February.

The reporting partner from Hyesan said, “Officials say that the summit talks ended without success because foreign ministry officials sold information to the U.S. in advance,for which they were executed.”

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

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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