Border Cell Phone Crackdown Intensified

Shenyang, China — In what many North Korea watchers will interpret as a portend that Kim Jong Il is about to journey across the Yalu River into China, the North Korean authorities have been monitoring the cell phone usage of border area residents more closely than ever.

As a source from Shinuiju explained to The Daily NK on Sunday morning, “Since March 27th, Transmission Maintenance Bureau agents working under the National Security Agency (NSA) have been intensively monitoring usage of Chinese cellular phones. A decree has also been handed down to the residents whereby, if they are caught by agents, both family members and the person who used the cellular phone will be sent to a Political Prison Camp.”

He added, “A rumor that the General (Kim Jong Il) will visit China is circulating, so the whole city is quite strained. The authorities look so cautious for fear that another incident caused by rebellious elements such as the Yongcheon Station explosion could occur again.”

“Not only the National Security Agency and People’s Safety Agency but also chairpersons of People’s Units are taking part in the crackdown on cellular phone usage.”

According to the source, these agents have been patrolling the vicinity of Shinuiju station, the Yalu River, factories and residential areas on three-wheelers carrying German electromagnetic wave detection devices.

A different source from North Hamkyung Province also told The Daily NK, “In Musan, Hoiryeong, Onsung and others the NSA is carrying out inspections. They will be done until April 20th.”

However, as of 9 A.M. on the 4th, the Shinuiju source reported no special guard at important spots like Shinuiju Station or the Customs House, and no difference in Shinuiju as seen from Dandong.