North Korea Today No. 239 - Oct 2008


Residents Complain on the Over-pricing of Route 116 Bus

In Chungjin City, North Hamgyong Province, residents are complaining about the overpricing of Route 116 Bus. Bus fee has increased substantially by 10,000 NK won for Chungjin-Onsung route, 5,000 NK won for Hoeryong-Onsung, 9,000 NK won for Onsung-Mt. Gomoo. What is even worse is that they are charging additional baggage fee of 2,000 NK won per baggage. With trains not operating at usual conditions, Route 116 Bus was the only option of transportation for the residents, but was also involved in numerous accidents. Merchants, who normally travel long distances, complain that bus made no improvement in safety measures or comfort ability, but only raised the price supposedly due to higher gas prices. Nonetheless, they are still using the bus because they have no other options.

* US$1.00 is approximately 3,400 NK won

The Infamous Directive Officers in Discipline Center Unconscious

Last October 7, at around 11 p.m., a directive officer of Sinuiju discipline center named Hong Kap-soo (48) was found on the ground near his house. He was immediately taken to the hospital but is still unconscious. Doctors said that Hong has suffered a serious cerebral hemorrhage and may not be able gain consciousness ever again. Hong has been known for his harsh and merciless behaviors to his trainees at the camp. He would frequently beat up the trainees for reasons such as staying too long in the bathroom or not working hard enough. It was normal for him to make the trainees sit on a concrete ground all day long and slap their cheeks. It is also commonly believed that Hong receives far more bribes from the family members of the trainees than do other directive officers. All these things considered. Security Agency is mainly investigating people who were discharged from the camp either this year or last year based on the assumption that one of them might have attacked Hong for revenge.

Discharged Soldier Makes Appeal against Outrageous Discharge from the Party

Kim Seok-ki (29), who, after serving 10 years of military service in Kangwon Province, a place known for severe food shortage, before gaining entry into the party, was kicked out of the party as soon as he got home. After finishing his military duty, Kim was placed in Danchun coalmine in South Hamgyong Province, but he headed to home instead in Moosan, North Hamgyong, after deciding that he may die from hunger if he went to Danchun. However, he had to go home on his own without any money. According to the rule, if the member of the party does not work for 3 months, the member is automatically discharged. When Kim arrived home after 3 months, he was recorded as having no activity in the party and his forcible discharge was already reported to the Central Party.

City Party did not know what to do and asked Provincial Party who said, "It has already been decided and there is nothing we can do now." Kim, who made the long trip home while fighting hunger, was shocked by his discharge and became sick. Kim said, "I came home after overcoming so many difficulties to do something good for my parents. You cannot imagine how hard I worked to get into the party. Please give me a chance to show my loyalty to the General. Kim's parents appealed to the City Party number of times, but are yet to hear any good news.

Suhdoosoo Plant Stops Its Power Generation

Last September 28, in North Hamgyong, electric power generation at Suhdoosoo plant stopped. Many cities in North Hamgyong including Chungjin, Hoeryong, and Moosan suffered from shortage of electricity, making the supply of water very difficult. Local residents are getting their water from nearby rivers, but not boiling the water, which result in many cases of intestinal inflammation.

Lives Lost in Chungjin Due to Collapse of Magnetic Iron Mine in Keumbahweedong (Gold Stone Dong)

The Party of Pohang District in Chungjin City, North Hamgyong, has accumulated its fund by organizing the shock troop brigade and selling magnetic irons they mined to China. The Party of Pohang District has convinced people in factories and companies to join the shock troop brigade by giving them opportunity to enter the Party.

These people worked over 9 hours at the mine. When the ceiling at one mining site collapsed last October 9th, two people died and three were injured. At the funeral, family members of dead workers cried out, "What is a Party member good for? How can we live if they die?"

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