Loan shark murdered by young woman

Kang Mi Jin  |  2016-06-15 00:55
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An indebted young woman in Ryanggang Province, North Korea murdered a moneylender who relentlessly pressured her to pay back the loan, Daily NK has learned.

"A 22 year-old female market vendor attacked and killed a loan shark with a knife in Kimjongsuk County on June 4. The woman has been arrested and an investigation is underway at the Ministry of Peoples Security unit in Sinpa County. A trial will be held soon, a source in Ryanggang Province reported to Daily NK on June 9.

"The young woman was unable to pay back the interest on the loan by its due date. The attack happened in a store late at night when no other people were present. A kitchen knife was the weapon used in the attack."

Two additional sources in the same province corroborated this news.

As the number of women engaging in market selling in North Korea steadily rises, so too has the corresponding number of loan sharks, who offer these entrepreneurs loans to grow their business ventures while profiting handsomely on the interest.

The burgeoning market allows lenders to engage more clients and offer lower interest rates: most charge 10% currently, compared to the 20-30% rate typical of the past. For small-scale personal loans the payback period is usually one month, with interest rates ranging from 7-10% on the high end of the scale, 5% on average, and 3% on the low end.

The young woman in question used her house as collateral to secure a loan but was unable to pay it back, and the attack occurred when the loan shark expressed intent to repossess the woman's house. Moneylenders typically use pressure on borrowers in order to recover the principle and the interest, but in this case, the loan shark's tactics were said to be more aggressive than usual, triggering an extreme response from the woman.

Predictably, news of the incident spread quickly and elicited ambivalent opinions from residents in the surrounding area. The woman who committed the attack was generally well-liked, and as such people are lamenting what time and hardship can do to change a person. They mostly seem to recognize how tough her situation must have been to induce someone so young to take such a drastic action, the source explained.  

However, there are also residents who are saying that as the accused did commit murder, the punishment must fit the crime.

"In the past, those convicted of homicide would be executed by firing squad in either public settings or away from the private eye. However, central authorities recently issued an order banning firing squads, so they likely won't do that. She will probably be executed via other means as soon as the court proceedings come to a close, perhaps with an instrument such as a rubber baton, the source concluded. 

*Translated by Jonathan Corrado

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