◆ Massive social control commences

While organizations are focused on memorizing and reciting the new plenary session report, the authorities are continuing last month’s push to “strengthen the fight against anti-socialist activities.”

Amid worsening economic conditions, there are reports of multiple breakdowns of the social order. This includes desertion from work, vagrancy, illegal commercial activities, drug trafficking, prostitution, and corruption among officials. To make matters worse for the authorities, the strengthened crackdown on South Korean dramas and other foreign media has been largely unsuccessful.

A reporting partner living in Hyesan said, “The crackdown has been in full swing since the end of last year, with the government mobilizing all public security agencies and employing a specific agency called the ‘109 Division’ to combat anti-socialist activities.”

※ The “109 Division” is an organization that is specifically charged with cracking down on foreign media distribution. It is a jointly formed organization which includes officials from the party, military, police, prosecution, and security departments.

The crackdown is particularly stringent in regards to the illegal use of Chinese mobile phones. According to the reporting partner, “Orders have been given to find the source of the Chinese mobile phones and Military Security Command officers from Pyongyang have even been dispatched to the border region. Because they may come to search our houses, I have hidden my phone elsewhere and turned it off. A lot of people have been caught.” (Kang Ji-won)

※ The Military Security Command is an agency in the Korean People’s Army tasked with monitoring the activities and political loyalties of military officers.

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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