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North Korea orders hunt to capture “impure elements” in Russia

North Korean authorities have issued an order calling on North Korean workers in Russia to step up mutual surveillance and “track down internal impure elements secretly communicating with enemies,” Daily NK has learned.

The order comes after Daily NK, acting on a tip, exposed the corruption of a security officer at a North Korean construction company in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Daily NK source in Russia said Tuesday that the overseas counterintelligence bureau of the Ministry of State Security issued the order in mid-May. The order appears to be based on the ministry’s judgment that factual news reports based on inside information must stop.

More importantly, the Ministry of State Security believes that as contacts, in whatever form, with South Koreans increase, North Korean workers’ dissatisfaction with the regime and the likelihood of defection could grow – and that this is a danger that must be dealt with at all costs.

Indeed, since the order, security agents on the ground in Russia have stepped up their crackdown on North Korean workers.

“Security agents say they will break the wrists of anyone who eats instant noodles from the South Korean puppets or accesses the Internet, and they threaten to arrest anyone caught and send them back to North Korea to make an example of them,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of State Security’s overseas counterintelligence bureau has been quietly handling the corruption case of the security agent reported by Daily NK.

Also speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, a source in North Korea said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un considered the case a matter that the Ministry of State Security should handle on its own. He said that while the Ministry of State Security had not reported the latest incident to the party, it would consider repeated such exposures overseas as matters of grave concern that must be reported up the chain of command.

“The ministry considers the mere raising and discussion of problems to be a national disgrace, regardless of whether the news reports are true or not,” the source said. “It also tries to deal with such problems as quietly as possible, because if other problems arise, international attention could focus on them.”

Media reports can help prevent high-handed behavior by security officials

As for the possible punishment of the security officer involved in the latest corruption scandal, the source said the ministry would have a hard time replacing him immediately “because it would seem to prove that the news report is true.”

However, he also said that because the matter has tarnished the image of the security services, “it will be dealt with one way or another, perhaps by recalling the agent in a year or two under some other pretext.”

The source in Russia said that even if the agent were fired, “frankly, it’s like one thief leaving and another coming in – they’re all bastards.” He added, “Ultimately, the North Korean government has to change its perception.”

He added: “If there are more reports following up on the issue, it will give hope to the workers to know that it’s not the North Korean government but the media that cares about the injustices and bitterness suffered by overseas workers. [The reports] will also help in preventing high-handed behavior by security officials.”

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

April 04, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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