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Serious misconduct in Kim Jong Un’s personal guard unit leads to personnel reshuffle

Serious misconduct has led to a major personnel reshuffle in a guard unit at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s seaside villa in Kyongsong County, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in North Korea told Daily NK last Thursday that the incident began when disciplinary violations and non-socialist behavior by a senior technician of the State Security Department under the 879th Brigade of the Supreme Guard Command and his subordinates were reported to the Supreme Guard Command by the brigade’s general staff and political departments in early April.

According to the report submitted to the Supreme Guard Command, the senior technician had repeatedly engaged in problematic behavior, such as sending two of his subordinates out in civilian clothes, putting them up in his own house, and excusing them from political classes and unit training to run errands for him.

The incident was considered very serious because the subordinates often watched foreign video content confiscated from the unit or obtained outside the base.

In the end, the brigade’s general staff and political departments officially raised the issue with the Supreme Guard Command headquarters in Pyongyang, which prompted an immediate response.

“The chief technician of the 879th Brigade in charge of guarding the Supreme Leader’s villa in Kyongsong has been detained by the prosecutors of the Supreme Guard Command and is being interrogated. The subordinates who ran errands for him have been sentenced to disciplinary labor under the State Security Bureau of the Supreme Guard Command for the crimes of watching and distributing foreign cultural materials,” the source said.

Incident suggests discipline in the military is weakening

The fact that such an incident occurred in a unit under the Supreme Guard Command – where discipline is unusually strict even for the North Korean military, given its responsibility for protecting Kim Jong Un – shows how lax discipline has become in the military recently.

“The Supreme Guard Command is dealing with this issue so harshly because an official and agents of the State Security Department, who are supposed to be in charge of maintaining discipline, were themselves guilty of serious indiscipline, including breaking rules and consuming foreign cultural materials,” the source said.

Following this incident, the Supreme Guard Command reportedly replaced all senior officials in the State Security Department of the 879th Brigade, including the department head. This was not a routine reshuffle, the source said, but an attempt to restore discipline and compliance in the brigade responsible for guarding the Kyongsong villa.

“The newly appointed officials of the 879th Brigade’s State Security Department were ordered to thoroughly check all officers, soldiers and family members in the brigade to see if they had consumed foreign cultural materials and to inform the Supreme Guard Command of the results,” the source said.

“The Supreme Guard Command noted that it was unacceptable that such an incident occurred not only in any unit, but in a unit responsible for protecting the Supreme Leader, and ordered that internal ideological controls be tightened and contact with foreign cultural materials be completely restricted. The Supreme Guard Command’s restrictions on contact with such materials are expected to become even stricter in the future,” he added.

The 879th Brigade’s State Security Department is afraid after being sternly warned by the Supreme Guard Command that if something similar happens in the future, the affair will not end with a few officials being reshuffled.

“The 879th Brigade under the Supreme Guard Command was on the verge of losing the privilege of guarding Kim’s villa after a shooting incident in the spring of 2021, but was reinstated thanks to a generous pardon from Kim. But the occurrence of another incident has the entire brigade on edge, and brigade members are strictly adhering to the searches for foreign cultural materials,” 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. 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

May 28, 2024 at 12:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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