◆ All four tires can be taken off a car in just 10 minutes

There are frequent burglaries at factories and companies, which has led local management officials to take off their vehicles’ side mirrors when they park or place alarms on tires to prevent theft. Many organizations have hired guards to keep watch over the cars at night. The guards are paid 20,000 North Korean won (around 4,000 South Korean won) per night.

North Korea's largest iron mine is in North Hamgyung Province’s Musan County. A reporting partner who lives in the county told ASIAPRESS that there are many thefts in the area, explaining:

“Around 30% of the vehicles affiliated with transporting supplies (for the mine) have been immobilized because their tires have been stolen. There’s a car repair shop located nearby run by a pair of brothers, and when the authorities did a search of their house, they found a lot of stolen car parts in their kimchi pots.

During an inminban (people’s unit) meeting, we were told that both those who steal and trade in stolen parts of cars, which are considered state property, will face punishment. They also said there are (illegal) organizations that focus solely on stealing car parts, and that members of these organizations must be reported to the authorities. They say that it doesn’t take even 10 minutes for four tires to be taken off vehicles. The police have declared an effort to eliminate the frequent thefts of car parts throughout the country and that checkpoints are keeping an eye out (for suspicious behavior).”

※ ASIAPRESS communicates with its reporting partners through Chinese cell phones smuggled into North Korea.