Jang’s Family Hit with Prison Camp Transfer

Following the execution of Jang Song Taek
for allegedly plotting to overthrow the North Korean state, Daily NK has learned that a substantial number of the
former elite official’s blood relatives are being transferred to
political prison camps.

“At around 10PM on the night of the 13th,
the day after Jang was executed, armed men from the Ministry of State Security
arrived unannounced in the Pyongchon area of Pyongyang where a lot of his
relatives lived,” a source from the North Korean capital reported to Daily NK
on the 20th. “They took away a few hundred people. As far as I know they were
taken off to political prison camp.”

“It wasn’t just his close relatives who
were taken away, but distant relatives too like the relatives of his father,” he added. “In these circumstances even his relatives outside Pyongyang aren’t
safe.”

According to the source, people were
already astonished by the news of Jang’s execution, but now they are even more fearful
as local households have started disappeared overnight. Because the crimes that
Jang is officially said to have committed are extremely serious felonies, some
expect his family to be executed, while others presume they will be permanently
incarcerated.

The source also reported that once news of
Jang’s arrest by the secret police got around, a portion of those people who were
worried that their links to him might lead to punishment even volunteered to take
part in “revolutionization” by laboring on farms or in mines.

“It seems like they are trying to take
self-imposed punishment in order to evade a more stringent one, but they’ll
find it difficult to escape that way. Jang’s crimes are ‘anti-Party, counter-revolutionary
factionalism,’ so of course they will have to say that his family challenged
the system. For this reason, severe punishment awaits.”

Looking at the background to the latest step
in the eradication of Jang Song Taek from North Korean officialdom, the source said
that the fundamental purpose is to quash all potential for internal unrest. “In
reality there are quite a few people who have doubts about Jang Song Taek’s
alleged crimes,” he said. “They know that the authorities can find a
pretext for anything if they really want to, so they are being very careful not
to draw attention to themselves.”

“The Upper [the authorities] have been telling us
that it’s fine to continue as normal, and there has been no real worsening of
everyday restrictions, for example on market activity,” he concluded. However, “Many
people have no idea what could happen to them next. Actually, the number of
people coming to trade in the markets is slowly decreasing.”

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