Chinese authorities conducting inspections in Dandong City near the border with North Korea.
Military dogs were mobilized to assist. Image: Daily NK (taken last week).
Chinese authorities have set up strict checkpoints near the border regions with North Korea in Liaoning Province, Dandong City, including the mobilization of military dogs. This latest measure appears to be the Chinese government’s attempt to close down smuggling routes that have provided holes in the international sanction campaign against the North Korean regime.
According to a North Korean source with knowledge of the issue, Chinese frontier public security officers in military garb are enforcing thorough inspections and crackdowns on smuggling from the Hwanggumpyong Island area to the Yalu River Estuary near Donggang. Inspections are carried out from eight in the morning to five in the evening to all vehicles coming and going through the region.
“In the past, the searches by police were conducted irregularly, but since a few days ago, soldiers have been securing the roads and checking everyone. The psychological effect of the tough inspections, which includes the use of military dogs, has caused merchants to shrink away, and many have resolved to avoid the region,” he said.
A Dandong-based source added, “This is the first time we have seen military dogs in the Yalu River area. It looks as if the authorities are intending to crackdown on the vibrant drug trade [and other smuggled items] that flows through the region.”
The estuary near Donggang was also a site for frequent defector escapes, suggesting that the Chinese authorities might also be trying to track down and prevent defectors from crossing over.
Daily NK recently reported that many North Korean defectors were boarding smuggling vessels that crossed from Sinuiju City, North Pyongan Province, North Korea across the Yalu River to China.
“China is responding sensitively because the world is watching how it deals with North Korean smuggling and defectors,” the Dandong-based source said. “The checkpoints and inspections are aimed at blocking smugglers and defectors, which does not come as good news for North Korean residents.”
Recently, the Chinese authorities have started to set up checkpoints around
Dandong City, involving the regular and thorough inspection of passing vehicles. Image: Daily NK