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North Korea responds to Daily NK’s whistleblower report

After Daily NK reported through a whistleblower in late January on the misdeeds of Chae Sung Chol, a North Korean state security officer based in Russia, North Korean authorities have sought to cover up the man’s wrongdoing. Meanwhile, surveillance of foreign workers in Russia has intensified.

North Korea buries reports of corruption with conspiracy theories

According to the anonymous whistleblower who first informed Daily NK about Chae’s abuses, as well as several local sources, North Korean state security officials based in Moscow and staff from the headquarters of the North Korean construction company that Chae works for visited Irkutsk in early February to inspect the supervision and wage payments of construction workers.

The workers, aware of Chae’s misdeeds, speculated that he would be punished.

But then something unexpected happened: the state security officials from Moscow refused to hold Chae accountable and instead encouraged his behavior.

After a brief face-to-face meeting with Chae, the state security officials concluded that “[the Daily NK report] is a devious attempt by our enemies to falsely incriminate our core members. This decision followed instructions from the Ministry of State Security, which was concerned about criticism of the Workers’ Party of Korea and sought to cover up the incident.

The North Korean construction workers also praised Chae, saying that “the construction site is managed very thoroughly and without any signs of wrongdoing such as withholding overdue wages.”

In the end, there was no proper investigation into Chae’s mistreatment, and the case was buried.

“Instead of being punished for his actions, Chae was praised as a conscientious state security officer,” a source in Russia told Daily NK. “North Korea always sides with the managers, never with the workers.”

Local state security officials hunt for informants, conduct extensive investigation of workers

After the officials from Moscow left the site, state security officers in Irkutsk and officials from the construction company began a thorough investigation of the workers. Chae and other state security officials conducted an extensive investigation to find “the informer who is collaborating with the enemy.”

Noting that the original report included references to “a large 65-inch TV” and “a wireless headset,” they monitored every worker in Chae’s vicinity, believing that the prime suspect was someone with a smartphone or a manager who could access the Internet. Daily NK’s source reported that a management-level worker was eventually accused of being the informant.

In addition, all workers were subject to strict orders, including a 7 PM curfew, a total ban on smartphone use, mandatory reporting of electronic device ownership and bribe payments, and increased surveillance of workers’ friends and family.

“Every night, workers must report to their supervisors if they notice anything suspicious. These supervisors then report to their superiors,” the source said. “The repression and control of these workers has only intensified, and they are interrogated almost every day. The exhausting lives of these workers have become even more difficult.”

Translated by Audrey Gregg. 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 11, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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