Coreia do Norte, Daily NK, Inglês

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FILE PHOTO: A sentry post on the Sino-North Korean border in Sakju County, North Pyongan Province. (Daily NK)

North Korea’s Ministry of State Security has designated April as the “month of eliminating illegal activities” and is heavily monitoring state security departments along the border, Daily NK has learned.

“According to a Ministry of State Security report covering the first quarter of the year, the ministry has learned that some state security departments in the border region have been taking cell phones smuggled from China and using them for personal use instead of destroying them or storing them in the evidence room,” a source in North Korea told Daily NK on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source said the ministry’s moves “amount to a campaign to root out the illegal behavior that has been observed at state security departments along the border.”

He added: “According to the ministry, state security departments near the border have been using their position and authority to appropriate Chinese-made cell phones confiscated from the public and establish clandestine connections with other countries, which has seriously damaged national security. The ministry has ordered the matter to be fully investigated and the guilty parties punished.”

The measures were taken after actual cases of illegal behavior were found at state security offices in Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, and Uiju County, North Pyongan Province, both near the border.

According to the source, there were numerous cases in Hoeryong and Uiju in which the wives and relatives of certain state security officials used confiscated Chinese-made cell phones to act as international call brokers, providing telephone connections to China, South Korea and other countries at an average rate of two Chinese yuan per minute.

After these cases were reported to the central government, the source said, the ministry launched an internal investigation and promised to crack down on the illegal behavior of state security departments in and around the border.

“The ministry is making a big deal out of the fact that confiscated Chinese cell phones are being used for business purposes instead of being disposed of as ordered, and it regards this as serious non-socialist and anti-socialist behavior that poses a serious threat to order in the border area,” the source said. “As a result, the state security officials and family members in the border area who have acted in this way are likely to be investigated and punished.”

The state security bureaus in Hoeryong and Uiju, where the illegal behavior was discovered, are now waiting for the ministry to directly investigate them as promised.

Other state security bureaus in the border area plan to join the campaign to uproot and eliminate illegal activities through stricter supervision and monitoring this month. In a related development, the ministry has announced that it will conduct unannounced inspections of state security departments along the border this month.

Residents of the border region who are familiar with these measures see them as a demonstration of the ministry’s determination to establish order along the border. They also view this as an important opportunity to remind state security agents and their family members of their duties and their responsibility for the security of the state, the source said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to [email protected].

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