High level North Korean cadres are visiting a casino in the far northeast of the country, disguising their identities so as to avoid government regulations which forbid them from entering, a defector-led NGO has revealed.
Reporting the news, an NK Intellectuals Solidarity inside source explained yesterday, “Recently, cases of high level North Korean cadres disguising their identities to enter Orakjang Casino, which is in the Emperor Hotel in Rasun City, have been occurring frequently.”
The Emperor Hotel was established in 2000 by Emperor Group, a Hong Kong-based property developer. With around 100 rooms, bars, cafes, an indoor swimming pool, sauna, night club, sports center and a fine sea view, the hotel, which cost $64 million to build, employs around 500 people, including a number of North Korean women.
According to the source, while the hotel was regularly frequented by Chinese tourists and officials when it opened, it closed down at the end of 2004 after one official, acting independently, squandered a fortune in public funds there.
However, seizing the opportunity presented by Kim Jong Il’s visits to China last year, the hotel reopened and, according to the source, has recently been doing well off Russian traders, among others.
On this, the source explained, “One of the conditions placed on the opening of the hotel was that North Koreans would not be allowed to enter, and at the beginning their entry seemed to have been thoroughly prohibited,” adding that therefore, “However, as the number of Chinese traders going to the casino increased, so high North Korean cadres doing business with the Chinese and wealthy North Koreans disguising their identities also entered.
The North Koreans apparently pretend to be Korean-Chinese when they enter the casino, where some reportedly gamble away as much as $10,000 per day.
Because North Korean enterprises and factories are unable to operate properly due to a lack of raw materials and capital, average cadres and staff go to gamble mostly to relieve their boredom, the source explained.