Authorities encourage residents to report on one another

Kang Mi Jin  |  2017-05-08 15:12
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Sources are indicating that the North Korean authorities are using inminban or neighborhood watch meetings to encourage residents to report on each other for legal infractions. 

Officials from North Koreas judicial agencies have attended the meetings and reminded residents of the phone numbers to call when reporting suspicious activities to the Ministry of State Security (dial 110), and the Ministry of Peoples Security (dial 118). The repeated mention of these numbers has come with strong encouragement for residents to report on each other. 

Residents are being instructed to report if they see anyone taking pictures of specific buildings or of homeless children, a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on May 3. 

The authorities have long relied on residents to report on each other, but things are a bit different this time around because the authorities have given the residents phone numbers for law enforcement entities and are urging residents to quickly provide reports. 

The developments suggest that the regime is responding to the influx of outside information into North Korea and the leaking of domestic information abroad. 

The source added that a new slogan is being used by the authorities to enable them to uproot the breeding grounds for anti-socialist and counter-revolutionary activities in Ryanggang Province, and that residents are being advised to avoid meeting with suspicious people to avoid becoming the target of an inquiry.

Party cadres are actually more commonly involved in illegal activities and drugs than normal residents, so these developments are making them nervous. Residents choose to tread carefully whenever the authorities ratchet up the pressure. Theyre encouraging each other to be careful, the source explained.

Residents, however, are generally unwilling to report on each other because there is no reward for doing so. In addition, anyone who lodges a report must be on call until the situation is resolved. 

A separate source in Ryanggang Province explained that often the person submitting the report also falls under suspicion, so residents do not proactively seek to report incidents. 

The safest practice is to pretend that you have not seen or heard anything unusual, he said.

But as residents are also told that there will be punishments for those who do not report suspicious activity, there will be some who actually do call in to file a report. 

*Edited by Lee Farrand

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