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N. Korean officials in Sinuiju hold lecture criticizing “female criminals”

Sinuiju officials recently held a lecture calling on people to “step up the struggle against women who commit crimes and treat our present suffering and hardship as an opportunity to make money,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

The lecture’s speaker first reminded the participants of the women who work in various fields and are loved and respected for their work. After denouncing women who do the opposite and engage in crime to make money, the lecturer called on participants to wage a fierce struggle against female criminals.

“Today, there are women at all levels and in all branches of government working as party delegates and as senior officials in various state institutions and social organizations, as well as heroes of labor, teachers, professors, athletes, actresses, and countless others who are loved and respected [for their efforts]. But there are also women among us who see our present suffering and hardship as a good opportunity to make money and even engage in criminal activities,” the lecturer said.

The speaker then cited several examples of crimes committed by women in different parts of the country, particularly women who had manufactured and distributed counterfeit medicines or who had been involved in smuggling information in and out of the country.

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Panic buying of drugs in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused drug prices to skyrocket in North Korea. Shortages were exacerbated by border closures due to the pandemic, and all manner of counterfeit drugs flooded the market as some people began making and selling counterfeit drugs. In response, the government cracked down on the production and distribution of counterfeit drugs.

After COVID-19, North Korea designated the act of taking information into or out of the country as an anti-socialist and non-socialist crime and intensified its crackdown on information leaks. In particular, the government has focused its attention on foreign-made mobile phones as a key channel for the unwanted flow of information and has conducted widespread raids and imposed harsh punishments on anyone using these phones without government permission.

The source pointed out, however, that “people would not be making and selling fake drugs if the medical situation was not so dire in the first place. As for taking information in and out of the country, no one would be willing to engage in such a risky business if they lived decently and got enough to eat. So [you can see why] the people who attended the lecture were not unmoved by the lecturer’s call to action.”

The source said that a handful of like-minded people gathered after the lecture and expressed their dissatisfaction with what had been said, wondering: “How can anyone make a living in this country without doing something illegal?” and, “If they just gave us a way to make a living, [we] wouldn’t complain about the crackdowns or struggles [the government calls for].”

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The source concluded: “They can scream their heads off about ‘non-socialist activity this’ and ‘fighting female criminals that,’ but it’s no use when the most important thing at the moment is to earn money for the sake of your family’s livelihood. If they want to wage a struggle against this kind of crime, they have to start by addressing the underlying factors that have forced people to resort to crime in the first place.”

Translated by Rose Adams. 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 dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Read in Korean

January 15, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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