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Smuggling of used vehicles in Hyesan leads to government crackdown

Smuggling of used vehicles has emerged in Hyesan, Yanggang Province, prompting North Korea’s Ministry of State Security to launch an inspection, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Daily NK source in Yanggang Province reported on Monday that the ministry began the inspection at the end of last month. The inspection was initiated after reports that some used vehicles imported from China were smuggled in without state approval.

Some trading companies in Hyesan engaged in illegal smuggling of used cars without obtaining a trade permit, known as a “waku,” due to the permit’s high cost of about RMB 30,000 (USD 4,160).

“Cars are items subject to North Korea sanctions, so the state requires they be imported only after obtaining a waku,” the source said. “However, because the waku cost so much, some trading companies secretly brought in vehicles without it.”

The U.N. Security Council prohibits the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of means of transportation to North Korea under Resolution 2397.

Careers of Hyesan’s powerful officials may be on the chopping block 

According to the source, the trading companies received money equivalent to the waku fee from wealthy individuals and smuggled in the used vehicles. The source explained that the money received from individuals was used as bribery funds for illegal smuggling, company operating expenses, or diverted for personal use by officials.

“Most of the individuals bringing in used vehicles are powerful people such as families or relatives of officials,” the source said. “In any case, since the ministry’s inspection has begun, all the powerful agency officials and trading company officials involved in this matter are cowering, and the overall atmosphere in Hyesan is tense.”

Currently, members of the ministry’s inspection team are going around places where vehicles are lined up, checking each one to identify illegally imported vehicles.

In response, trading companies or individuals who engaged in illegal smuggling are said to be busy moving vehicles to hide them in tunnels near Gyomsan-ri Village or diverting them to rural areas far from the city to avoid the eyes of the inspection team.

“Illegal smuggling is a serious crime linked with anti-socialist and non-socialist behavior, so it’s likely that many officials from Hyesan’s powerful agencies and trading company officials will be replaced due to this inspection,” the source said. “The more illegally smuggled vehicles are found, the more people will lose their positions or be punished.”

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

July 02, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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