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N. Korea’s Chongjin Department Store comes under probe for corruption

The Chongjin Department Store in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, has been the subject of an investigation by the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea for corruption among its officials, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Friday that the Central Committee sent an inspection team after receiving a complaint about corruption by officials of the Chongjin Department Store. “The inspection team unearthed all the officials’ corruption during a 10-day inspection between the end of last month and the beginning of this month,” he said.

The inspection began after department store workers complained that they had long witnessed the store’s party and administrative officials constantly making money by taking bribes or stealing goods to sell on the side.

The department store staff had complained or sent appeal letters to the provincial, city, and county party committees about this corruption, but the local party committees – which were closely connected with the officials and even receiving bribes from the officials – covered up the crimes each time.

Moreover, every time the staff complained, they were rebuffed. Angry, the workers, through a Chongjin resident with a relative on the committee, told the Central Committee what was happening and asked the party’s central body to get directly involved.

Central government investigators leave no stone unturned

The Central Committee received the complaint in late February. The Central Committee rushed an inspection team to Chongjin, believing that if it left the matter to the provincial party committee of North Hamgyong Province, it would again cover up the matter and the workers’ complaint would be in vain.

“The inspection team that came to Chongjin immediately launched an investigation into the corruption of the department store officials,” the source said. “The inspection team uncovered the staff’s corruption by interviewing each staff member one by one, and found that the officials had stolen so many goods and taken so many bribes that the staff’s complaint went all the way to the Central Committee.”

According to the investigation, party and administrative officials were provided with an optimal environment for corruption, as more than 60% of the goods sold in the store were privately consigned.

The officials took commissions or regular bribes from the individuals who consigned the goods in exchange for placing the items in the most visible areas of the store, where they would sell better. They also stole state-produced goods and sold them at high prices.

“The Central Committee’s inspection has ended, at least outwardly, but the provincial police are still investigating the department store officials who are accused of corruption,” 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.

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

Read in Korean

April 23, 2024 at 01:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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