Dog smuggling operation goes awry when North Korean border patrol agents step in

North Korean soldiers smuggling on the border
North Korean soldiers smuggling on the border. Image: Daily NK

Members of the North Korean border patrol are being criticized for selling a dog confiscated from the dog’s owner to a Chinese smuggler, according to sources inside the country.

“The incident occurred in early April between border patrol officials in Ryanggang Province’s Kimjongsuk County and the five or six local residents who were raising the dog,” said a source based in Ryanggang Province.

The local residents had planned to sell the dog to a Chinese smuggler and had brought the dog to the border during the evening.

The local residents had gotten permission to conduct the hand-over of the dog from members of the border patrol in the area they were friendly with. However, the newly-appointed company commander and political advisor were patrolling the area at the time and stumbled onto the smuggling operation.

“At the time, the newly-appointed officers bristled at the smuggling operation and took the dog in their custody, but the local residents thought that a bribe would calm them down,” said a separate source in Ryanggang Province familiar with the incident.

“Two days later when they headed to see the officers to hand them a bribe, the dog was nowhere to be found and they were told that the “confiscated item” (the dog) could not be returned.”

He added that the local residents headed back to the site where the original hand-over of the dog was supposed to take place and found dog tracks about 10 meters away from the site. They assumed that the border patrol officers sold the dog to the Chinese smuggler early that same morning.

The local residents went to the border patrol office and accused the two newly-appointed officers of selling the dog to the Chinese smuggler. The officers, feigning innocence, told them that “the tracks could have been made by a deer or other wild animals,” according to the source.

“Generally speaking, the border patrol returns items that are not illegal to the original owners if they get a bribe,” he said.

“Local residents are angry at the border patrol officers because they essentially took what wasn’t theirs to make a bit of money for themselves.”

Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to