A Scuffle Between Safety Agents and Middle School Students

Middle School students in Hamheung, South Hamkyung province were caught producing methamphetamine reported Good Friends, a Seoul-based NGO dedicated to North Korean humanitarian issues. The bust happened when the students tried to sell “bingdu”—a type of methamphetamine—to an inspection unit investigating anti-socialist activities.

“Students from Sapo Senior Middle in Hamheung produced and sold bingdu with their parents’ cooperation,” reported Good Friends in a recent newsletter. “The students, because they were considered juvenile delinquents, were sentenced to youth social education.”

In an unrelated incident, a chemistry professor at Hamheung University was arrested for producing methamphetamine. A subsequent investigation revealed that the professor had been producing drugs and selling them to brokers in Shinuiju for three years.

In yet another incident that occurred in Sunam district, Chongjin, North Hamkyung on February 8, safety agents, attempting to interdict drug sales, were attacked by drug-peddling youth.

“The three safety agents scuffled with two youth possessing 50 grams of drugs and arrested them,” explained the newsletter.

Meanwhile, along the Tumen River, authorities dug pits and filled them with nail boards to prevent people from crossing the border.

According to the newsletter, authorities demanded local citizens help out. “The authorities ordered every two households in Onsung, North Hamkyung to donate a 50 centimeter square board with nails or to supply one thousand won in cash. Residents in Onseong complained about the feasibility of making a donation when they are going without food.

The newsletter quoted residents as saying, “this is not going to prohibit us from crossing the river, but instead is just going to bother us.”

An expert well-versed in North Korean affairs gave his prediction to the Daily NK: “There have been so many rumors circulating along the border area that the authorities would set up pits or wooden walls, but they all amounted to nothing. But, I am not sure if there may be some in mountainous areas. In this time, it is not clear yet that the authorities will actually install pits with nail boards. It may be just an attempt to threaten people not to cross the river into China.”

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