Soldiers stealing to cope with inspections

Lee Sang Yong  |  2015-06-16 17:10

In the face of a fresh mandate dispatching inspection teams to the border to clamp down on illicit border happenings, many of the guards stationed in the vicinity have been looting citizens homes to supplement their losses.    

As inspections by Defense Security Command (DSC) began in Musan County and other regions along the national border, the number of security guards coveting citizens household goods has increased, a source from North Hamkyung Province informed Daily NK on the 12th through a phone call. Facilitating smuggling operations got harder for soldiers, so many are resorting to burglary to make ends meet.   

Another independent source in the same province corroborated this news to Daily NK. 

June is not only the peak of the farming season and rice planting mobilizations, he went on, but also when long afternoons drag on into short nights, fueling young soldiers' appetites more than other times of year. 

The DSC inspections started up again last month, aimed at stamping out defections, overseas phone calls, illegal border crossing, smuggling, and those colluding to carry out any combination of them. Teams have been sent to North Hamkyung Province, Yangkang Province, Jakang Province, and South Pyongan Province in that order, according to the source. 

While directives such as these are issued to fortify the border, its impossible to completely regulate the entire space, the source pointed out, adding that the only way to solve the matter of soldiers stealing would be to implement measures to improve peoples livelihoods. 

Predictably, as is par for the course with mandates aimed at quashing defections and smuggling operations, illegal undertakings only subside temporarily; that is, they only ebb for the duration of time the inspection teams have been dispatched to a given region.

People 'tread lightly while the inspection teams are around, but as soon as they leave, things will go right back to the way they were before, she explained. 

Just as fleeting as the upped surveillance are the bonds forged by unlikely companions to weather the storm. Conflict is cast aside to ensure that nobody slips through the cracks, because, as the source noted, if one person gets caught, then multiple others are sure to get dragged down too.

*Translated by Jihae Lee

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