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North Korean burner phone prices soar amid government crackdown on purchases

The price of “daepo” phones — mobile phones falsely registered under another person’s name, similar to “burner phones” — is soaring in North Korea as authorities tighten purchase procedures, according to a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province.

Previously, state-run shops sold mobile phones by simply matching ID documents. Now, they’re closely comparing the buyer’s face with the ID photo. “If the face doesn’t match the ID, the person loses their right to buy a mobile phone for five years,” the source said on July 2, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

This crackdown aims to stop illegal mobile phone dealers from buying phones under others’ names and reselling them at inflated prices. The stricter procedures have led to an spike in price for daepo phones.

“Dealers now have to pay an extra USD 10 to have the person whose name they’re using accompany them to the shop,” the source explained. “As a result, daepo phones now cost USD 10 to 30 more.”

People who rely on daepo phones for commerce complain that the government “needlessly caused phone prices to increase as it can’t eradicate illicit mobile phone sales.” However, those who sell their names to dealers — often people unable to afford the devices themselves or elderly individuals — welcome the change, seeing it as an opportunity to earn more money.

“They say it’s good that they can earn more money by selling their names since they’ll never buy a phone anyway,” the source said. 

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.

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July 10, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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