Four cadres in North Hamgyong Province have recently been dismissed for their failure to properly manage quarantine efforts against COVID-19.

According to a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province, the four provincial cadres sacked on July 7 included the head of the political department of the provincial branch of the Ministry of State Security and the head of the political department of the provincial branch of the Ministry of Social Security.

North Korean authorities are “mercilessly” replacing cadres who violate or neglect quarantine regulations when the times demand protracted state-led emergency quarantine efforts. According to the source, however, problems recently arose when provincial officials in North Hamgyong Province failed to properly manage quarantine efforts.

The provincial branch of the Ministry of State Security was blamed for failing to properly watch over or manage inmates of preliminary examination detention centers with symptoms of COVID-19, such as fevers, runny noses, and coughs. This failure reportedly prevented the authorities from transporting those inmates to reeducation camps even after their convictions.

Hamhung, a city in North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Clay Gilliland

The provincial branch of the Ministry of State Security was criticized for not only failing to identify inmates at reeducation camps with similar symptoms, but also for openly flouting quarantine regulations by allowing family visits or taking bribes to pass on goods from the outside.

“[The sacked officials] were criticized hard, with their failure to properly grasp Workers’ Party policy and arbitrary behavior condemned as an ‘improper perspective’ and ‘attitude toward party policy,’ they were accused of just hanging on to their positions despite being at the forefront of executing Party policy,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This latest incident glaringly demonstrated the price cadres will pay for neglecting quarantine efforts at this time.”

The four were sacked or dismissed following an agreement between the Central Committee and the cadre department of the provincial branch of the ruling party. The authorities are also interrogating the sacked officials’ underlings, according to the source.

Although the heads of the provincial branches of the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Social Security should take joint responsibility as well, “they have so far escaped dismissal, receiving only quiet criticism from the Workers’ Party,” the source added. 

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
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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.