A Workers’ Party Central Committee investigation has led to widespread punishment of party, government and judicial officials in South Hamgyong Province, Daily NK has learned. 

“The Central Committee carried out an investigation into all organizations in South Hamgyong Province, which suffered severe damage in the typhoons due to a lack of advance preparation,” a source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Tuesday. “Many officials received stern warnings, and some were sent to Komdok Mine as revolutionary [punishment].” 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was reportedly very angry at the irresponsibility of provincial officials when he visited damaged areas in South Hamgyong Province recently. He ended up sacking the head of the provincial party committee and ordering an investigation into all officials in the province who had neglected their duties.

On Sep. 6, the Korean Central News Agency and other state media outlets reported that the head of the provincial party committee had been replaced when Kim presided over an expanded meeting of the Central Committee’s Executive Policy Council, which was held in the province. 

Following Kim’s order to investigate all provincial officials for negligence, the Central Committee carried out investigations into all organizations in the province, including the provincial party committee, people’s committee, the local Military Security Command office, and the Ministry of Social Security office. The investigation reportedly singled out officials who had been complacent in preparing for the typhoon and punished them with stern warnings. 

Rodong Sinmun reported on Sept. 6 that Kim Jong Un had visited storm-ravaged areas of South Hamgyong Province. / Image: Rodong Sinmun

According to the source, approximately 70 officials were given such warnings, and some of them were even given “revolutionary punishment.” Revolutionary punishment, also referred to as “revolutionary education,” typically involves forced labor or ideological education for a set period of time.  

The 40 officials who received lighter [punishments] will be mobilized to work on the construction of houses at Komdok Mine until Oct. 10, while the 39 who received revolutionary [punishment] will be forced to perform repair work at the mine until it is completely repaired by the end of the year,” the source said. 

The source told Daily NK that it is rare for revolutionary punishments to be given to so many officials at once. “Provincial officials who were not punished in this investigation are breathing a sigh of relief and trying to be careful,” he noted. 

Many South Hamgyong Province residents reportedly welcomed the investigation and are glad to see the officials punished. 

“Locals believe that cadres are appointed based on money rather than character or ability these days, which means that many officials don’t have what it takes [to do their jobs properly],” the source said. “Given this situation [massive flooding], people have been critical about the incompetence shown by local officials.”

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.