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N. Korean pedicab driver arrested in Pyongyang after protesting fine

A pedicab driver in Pyongyang’s Hyongjesan district was recently arrested after he protested against being fined by police, Daily NK has learned.

“An increasing number of people have been earning money by operating refurbished pedicabs in the suburban districts of Pyongyang, which has led to a crackdown by the Pyongyang police. A man who complained about a police fine is about to be sentenced to six months of disciplinary labor,” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, pedicab drivers have recently become a common sight on the outskirts of Pyongyang, where they provide transportation for the capital city’s residents going to or from work or doing business elsewhere.

Pedicab drivers ride bicycles retrofitted with a seat for passengers on the back and earn between KPW 500 and 1,000, depending on the distance, for transporting passengers between Pyongyang’s districts or from the city center to surrounding counties.

It is common for residents of Hyongjesan, Ryokpo and Sopo districts in Pyongyang to hire pedicabs when they are late for work or when the bus is unavailable.

Crackdown on “non-socialist behavior”

But Pyongyang police are fining pedicab drivers, saying that making money by pushing people around on retrofitted bicycles is an uncultured and non-socialist behavior that does not fit the mood of the capital.

“The police launched an all-out crackdown on pedicab drivers on Mar. 1, arguing that they spoil the beautiful spring scenery on the city’s streets. The police are also encouraging citizens to use buses during rush hour or take a taxi if necessary,” the source said.

In early March, a pedicab driver in Hyongjesan District was stopped by a policeman. But when the driver was ordered to pay a fine, he strongly objected. “When you watch Chinese dramas, people are always being carried around on bicycles, so why can’t we do that? I shouldn’t have to pay a fine when I haven’t done anything wrong,” the driver said.

Angered by the pedicab driver’s disobedience, the policeman called the riot police, who took the pedicab driver to the police station. He is currently being held in a waiting room at the station, the source said.

“The police said that people who do things that are banned by the government should at least show some respect when they’re caught. They think this guy deserves double punishment for the ideological failure of brazenly confronting the policeman and using reactionary language. The pedicab driver is likely to be sentenced to six months of disciplinary labor for his belligerence toward the policeman,” the source said.

Translated by David Carruth. 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.

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Read in Korean

March 14, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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