Security cadres use surveillance patrol to move drugs

Kim Chae Hwan  |  2016-08-25 17:29
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Amid heightened security measures, many high-ranking state security officials in North Korea are using their powerful roles within the countrys surveillance apparatus to line their pockets through the narcotics trade, Daily NK has learned. 

Recently, high-ranking cadres from the State Security Department have been secretly trading narcotics with Chinese mafia, a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK in a telephone conversation. This is not to secure loyalty funds[for the leadership]; its purely about accumulating personal wealth.

For example, the source added, cadres recently purchased 8 kg worth of crystal methamphetamine, otherwise known as crystal meth, in an inland region of North Korea before moving it over the border. They bought the drugs for 9,000 RMB per kilogram and sold it to contacts in China for 14,000 RMB per kilogram, the source said, describing how a single transaction yielded approximately 40,000 RMB (48 million KPW) in profits.

While Pyongyangs practice of engaging in institutionalized drug manufacturing to export for foreign-currency is well-documented, a growing percentage of the population--from students to soldiers--are involved, to varying degrees, in the drug trade in order to earn money.

This is perhaps easiest for security agents, who frequently use the pretense of surveillance in areas under their purview to travel and directly transport meth to the border area-- "a clear indication of how money and wealth supersede loyalty to the regime in modern North Korea, even among high-ranking officials, he asserted.

While the greater power bestowed on the surveillance body under the current regime further drives widespread corruption and pursuit for wealth among its personnel, the Ministry of Peoples Security and senior Party cadres are [following suit] to profiteer, the source added.

These security agents are tasked with the vital duties of preventing cross-border defections and weeding out disruptive members of society [to maintain an authoritarian state], but they dont really seem to have that sense of duty anymore, said an additional source in Ryanggang Province. Rather than protecting the integrity of the regime, they actually pose significant risks to it. 
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