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N. Korean soldier exiled after striking officer who didn’t think he was “party member material”

A North Korean soldier was recently sent to a reeducation camp after striking an officer in his unit who did not think the soldier was “party member material,” Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on Monday that “the soldier lived with his family in Sinuiju’s Kwanmun district and was completing his military service when the incident happened. His entire family was exiled to Rihwa village, Cholsan County, earlier this month.”

According to the source, the soldier was scheduled to be discharged in the spring. However, he was upset because his name had not yet been put on a list of discharged soldiers to become a member of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The soldier had had a bad relationship with his company’s political guidance officer, but since his service record was clean, he thought he would have little trouble getting into the party. So he waited, expecting his name to appear on the first list of the year.

However, when the soldier’s name did not appear on the list, even on Kim Jong Il’s birthday on Feb. 16, he went directly to the political guidance officer. The officer angrily scolded the soldier, telling him that he was not “party member material.”

The soldier, believing that he would not be admitted to the party, asked what he had done wrong and argued: “Soldiers with poor service records who paid a lot of bribes were quickly admitted to the party, but soldiers who performed diligently faced discharge without ever entering the party.” The two argued and eventually came to blows.

During the fight, the soldier was unable to control his anger and picked up a nearby blunt object, which he used to strike the officer. The officer collapsed bleeding and was soon taken to the army infirmary.

The unit’s security division immediately arrested the soldier. He was later dismissed from the military and turned over to civilian law enforcement.

“According to information collected by the police in Sinuiju, the unit’s security department said the soldier needed to be completely isolated from society because he might commit another serious crime,” the source said. “In the end, he was sent to a reeducation camp, while his family was exiled to Cholsan County.”

However, officials at the reeducation camp expressed confusion as to why the soldier was sent there instead of an army forced labor camp or reeducation center, since the incident took place in the military and no one was killed.

In this regard, the source said that the injured political guidance officer was the son of a powerful official in a national agency, and that his family “had the soldier dismissed so he could be punished more severely and could break up his family.”

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 dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

March 20, 2024 at 12:15PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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