Provincial offices of the MSS losing out to the Workers' Party

Kang Mi Jin  |  2017-06-16 11:50
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The authority of the North Korean security and legal agencies has been in decline recently, leading to an expansion of authority for the Korean Workers' Party. One prominent indication of this was the abrupt dismissal of the former head of the Ministry of State Security, Kim Won Hong, for abuse of power. These agencies previously wielded extensive authority and its officials regularly engaged in violence and threats against residents.
After the head of North Koreas intelligence and security body was fired earlier this year, the Central Party dismissed a number of high level officials. These trends show that the agency, which had once terrorized residents with impunity, is being sapped of its power. 
After Kim Jong Un fired Kim Won Hong, he issued an internal order promising severe punishment of officials who abuse their authority. As a result, the power of these agencies has been in decline," said an inside source in South Hwanghae Province during a recent phone conversation with Daily NK.
This applies to the central intelligence and security body, as well as the provincial offices. Their institutional authority has declined to such an extent that their operational capacity is being compared to an eagle with a broken wing. Their powers have instead been transferred over to the local and national party committees."
Since rising to power, Kim Jong Un has continued to consolidate power within the Central Party by gradually extracting it from other departments and agencies. Some are also viewing the move as a bid to improve public support by making it more difficult for these agencies to continue exploiting residents.   
When asked about this, the source responded, Ever since he became Chairman of the Workers Party, the organization has continued to accumulate authority. It appears to be a bid to centralize power and further Kim Jong Uns grip on state institutions. 
The residents, who have been abused and blackmailed by intelligence agency operatives for years, are likely to see these measures as positive developments in the short term. 
According to a source in North Hamgyong Province, ordinary residents are remarking that its fun to see these uniformed individuals (intelligence and security officers) walking around with their shoulders sagging, and, I hope the opportunity will be taken to discharge all of the prosecutors and security agents.   
On the other hard, others are concerned that the practice of extorting money from the residents will resume. In the future, powerful party cadres may seize the opportunity created by the power vacuum to make threats and extract bribes in a similar fashion.   
Many people are concerned that, whether its one group or the other, they are going to hold on to power and the mistreatment of residents will continue. It will be very easy for the cadres to become corrupt and lured by bribes even if they begin on a straight and narrow path, the South Hwanghae Province-based source concluded.

*Edited by Lee Farrand

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