Interior of Bath House No. 1 in Central District, Pyongyang
Interior of Bathhouse No. 1 in Central District, Pyongyang. (KCNA)

A major controversy has erupted in Hamhung after it was learned that high school sophomores had an orgy at a local bathhouse.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Monday that people are shocked after learning that three male and three female students from a high school in Hamhung “had sex in a bathhouse earlier this month.”

According to the source, the incident began on June 2. Although the bathhouse did not normally allow men and women to enter together, the students paid the manager an additional USD 70 above the regular entrance fee for exclusive use of the facility for two hours from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

The manager, suffering from a recent drop in business, accepted the USD 70 offer and let the students use the bathhouse, even though he knew it was wrong.

Admission to the bathhouse was KPW 15,000 per person, or about one dollar and 20 cents. Since USD 70 equated to the entrance fees for 60 customers, the manager gave in to temptation.

Word of tryst reaches the ears of the local police

Rumors began to circulate that the students used the bathhouse for an orgy after one of the students bragged to his friend. Eventually, a resident of Hamhung informed the city police.

On June 8, Hamhung police officers raided the bathhouse to investigate the matter, including checking its accounting books. The manager of the bathhouse was interrogated in a police cell.

“The manager, who had no idea the police inspection was coming, left the time slot when the students entered empty in the book,” the source said. “He can’t get out of the mess, and money won’t solve anything because rumors have spread too far. He won’t escape criminal punishment.”

The police also questioned the students, who said they had taken methamphetamine and had sex in the bathhouse, swapping partners.

The students’ parents were especially shocked. They feel so guilty and ashamed of their perceived failure to properly raise and control their children that they can barely leave their homes, the source said.

The students’ teacher also faced public shame for the incident.

“The homeroom teacher is called to the city’s education department every day to write self-criticism letters and is being criticized for failing to properly educate her students,” the source said. “In particular, Hamhung’s education department is taking the recent incident very seriously and plans to launch a special inspection of the teacher’s school.”

Bathhouse manager at the center of public criticism

Hamhung residents have criticized the students, but they are particularly angry with the bathhouse manager.

People have heaped criticism on him, asking how he could allow male and female students to enter a bathhouse together, no matter how badly he was struggling financially. They also said that he could have guessed what the students would do in his bathhouse, but money blinded him.

Meanwhile, the six students will attend a public meeting to confess their misdeeds sometime this month, though a date has not yet been set. No firm decision has been made on their punishment.

“In North Korea, these things sometimes happen because we don’t teach young people properly about sex. We just have a saying that boys and girls shouldn’t sit together after the age of seven,” the source said. “Since these incidents have a huge impact on students, [sex] education at home and in schools is urgently needed.”

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