[imText1]It has become known that the North Korean authorities’ search for a household that paid 5,000 won for telephone usages per month has come to a close. Upon finding the residence, the authorities cut the telephone lines to prohibit the outflow of inside information.
Kim Choen Mo (pseudonym), a North Korean trader traveling through Dandong, China on business, said on the 28th that “The Social Security Agency, the Postal Service Office and the People’s Unit are cooperatively managing this case.”
Mr. Kim quoted an affiliate of the Postal Service Office saying, “If someone pays a large amount in phone bills, it means that they are making a living in trade. Therefore, the order was made to block the leakage of inside information and to block trade as well.”
In 1997, North Korea started introducing a telephone system using fiber-optic cables in big cities such as Pyongyang, Shinuiju, Chongjin, Hamheung, Sariwon and Pyongsung. Under the orders of Kim Jong Il to modernize the telecommunication system, the cables from China were set up in Pyongyang and other big counties and provinces. People were permitted for the first time to install telephones in their houses, and residents in big cities became increasingly reliant on phone usage.
After 10 years, however, the order was handed down to cut the cables off houses where phone usage exceeded 5,000won a month.
In 2002 North Korean authorities introduced a mobile communication system, but since the Yongchoen explosion incident in 2004, mobile phone usage has been banned.