Households Handed Barricade Order

“Produce and present 1m long barricades with nails sticking out,” the authorities have reportedly ordered the local people living in one area along the Sino-North Korean border.

A Yangkang Province source explained to Daily NK, “The order to hinder the illegal activities of smugglers and defectors by making and delivering 1m-long planks with big nails in was issued to Daehongdan County on the 5th. The plan is to bury them along the border riverbank and in areas where the water is shallow.”

“The authorities are shifting the burden onto the people so as to more easily strengthen the crackdown along the border,” he continued.

The source explained that the order calls for the new barricades to be 1m by 20cm by 2cm with 70-100mm iron nails at regular intervals. People ordinarily use approximately 100 nails per barricade, meaning that the whole barricade can be made for roughly 2000 North Korean Won, the price of 0.5kg of rice at current prices.

Inevitably, this kind of measure can only annoy local residents. As the source pointed out, “Even without this life is quite hard, so the people are annoyed at perpetually being handed extra burdens.”

According to the local source, this is the first time that such a demand has been made of the people in Daehongdan County, which lies across the border from the city of Helong in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture. It is a mountainous area but has recently seen an increasing number of defections, sources report.

Elsewhere, in regions with traditionally more active defection and smuggling routes such as Onsung County in North Hamkyung Province, residents have reportedly been producing similar barricades since the fall of 2010.

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Kang Mi Jin
Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.