Woman arrested on border for data leak attempt

Kang Mi Jin  |  2017-04-06 17:00
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In the midst of heightened border security during a nationwide investigation into the Ministry of State Security, a North Korean woman has been arrested in the Sino-North Korea border area while attempting to provide domestic lecture materials to an external third party. 

"There are instructions to complete the investigation of the Ministry of State Security (MSS) before the Day of the Sun (Kim Il Sung's birthday), so control over residents in the border areas has been strengthened. A few days ago, a woman was arrested in Pochon County while trying to hand over lecture materials to an outsider, a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on April 3. 

"The woman was caught by border guard agents while handing over the internal lecture materials produced by the General Federation of Trade Unions of [North] Korea. Even the border guard agent, who promised to help her in exchange for money, ended up betraying her for proof of compliance with his orders," the source added.

The investigation into the MSS has had a trickle-down effect on the broader population. This is because whenever the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) investigates the MSS, the MSS and the Ministry of People's Security (MPS) in turn crack down harder on censorship and surveillance of the people.

MSS and MPS personnel are desperate to produce results, fearing dismissal or demotion. A second source in Ryanggang Province confirmed that the security officials are eager to arrest residents due to the announcement that inspections will be finished before the commemoration of Kim Il Sung's birthday.

"MSS officers are well-versed in arresting innocent people on false charges, eliciting criticism from victims and bystanders, he said, adding that the stress brought on by the investigation and the flurry of mandatory political events is causing many to look forward to the agricultural mobilization season in May--usually a source of disgruntlement and exhaustion but a comparative relief considering recent developments.

Especially unnerving, he added, is the direct encouragement by MSS officials for residents to monitor and report on each other, coaxing them with rhetoric like, 'If you report on your neighbors suspicious behavior, youll be spared this time. 

"Recently, smugglers engaged in trading commodities and food with their Chinese counterparts have been falsely accused and charged with leaking internal information, compounding concerns among residents and compelling them to become deeply distrustful of each other, he concluded.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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