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N. Korean state security agents use deception to arrest buyers of Chinese phones

State security agents in Hoeryong have been tricking would-be buyers of Chinese-made mobile phones by using informants to lure them to the site of a supposed sale and arresting them on the spot, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province said Wednesday that “some state security agents in Hoeryong” have mobilized sources to sniff out people who want to buy Chinese-made mobile phones and “pose as sellers to lure them to make purchases, after which the buyers are arrested on the spot.” He said people “are constantly being arrested using these tricks.”

According to the source, a remittance broker in Hoeryong who needed a new Chinese-made cell phone after his old one broke was introduced to a seller by a third party on June 22.

The broker agreed to a deal after choosing a time and place other than his home for the transaction. Prior to the meeting, they agreed on a price through the third party and decided to exchange the money and item quickly on the spot.

The seller quoted RMB 30,000 (USD 4,127) for a phone with a Chinese SIM card and WeChat installed, but the broker negotiated it down to RMB 28,000 (USD 3,852).

The broker brought his money to the appointed place at the appointed hour. The seller was already there when he arrived. After quickly checking whether the phone and WeChat worked properly, the broker handed over the money and tried to leave. However, two state security agents suddenly appeared and arrested him at the scene for trying to buy an illegal mobile phone.

The person who came to make the sale was an informant for the Ministry of State Security, while the security agents staking out the location arrested the broker after learning the place and time of the sale from the informant,” the source said. “In the end, the money transfer broker lost his money and ended up in jail.”

Another remittance broker in Hoeryong was arrested on June 25 after security agents used a similar ruse.

When his old Chinese-made cell phone would not turn on and efforts to fix it failed, he began asking around about buying a new one. Through a third party, he found someone selling a phone for a non-negotiable 25,000 RMB (USD 3,439). When he went to make the purchase, state security agents arrested him on the spot.

“In the past, state security agents arrested people for using Chinese-made cell phones, but now they lure people who want to buy Chinese cell phones to confiscate their money and punish them,” the source said. “The tricks used by state security agents are becoming more sophisticated.”

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. 

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

July 08, 2024 at 09:28AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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