North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently weighed in on the failure of the Ministry of Social Security to properly handle confusion surrounding vehicle licenses, Daily NK has learned.

“The Supreme Leader [Kim Jong Un] issued a statement of concern toward the Ministry of Social Security following complaints that the ministry was dragging its feet and failing to consider individual circumstances during the process of replacing vehicle and motorcycle licenses,” a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK yesterday.

Traffic control departments within MSS offices throughout the country, including in North Hamgyong Province, have riled up many people because they are taking issue with the holders of both newly-issued and older licenses, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The source told Daily NK that traffic control officers are refusing to believe that newly-issued licenses are real because they have been “issued too fast,” while holders of older licenses are getting in trouble for failing to have received newly-issued ones. Drivers are reportedly completely confused about what they should do.

According to the source, one resident of Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, was in possession of a vehicle license that had been newly-issued in June; however, he was taken to a police station when traffic control officers mistakenly believed that his license was a fake. The man reportedly criticized the agency for subjecting him to needless harassment.

Vehicles stopped at a checkpoint along the riverside in North Pyongan Province. / Image: Daily NK

This kind of incident is reportedly common in the country. Traffic control officials, moreover, are taking advantage of the ambiguity surrounding the licenses to extract bribes from ordinary people. North Koreans who were upset by this state of affairs recently sent a petition to the Central Committee about the issue, according to the source.

“It got to the point that the Supreme Leader heard about the issue and he issued a statement of concern on Sept. 1,” the source said. “Pointing out that [considerable] time had already passed since the Ministry of People’s Security had become the Ministry of Social Security, he criticized the irresponsible attitude [of ministry officials] for failing to properly deal with the issue of vehicle and motorcycle licenses and causing difficulty for the people.”

According to the source, Kim further pointed out in the statement that the failure to quickly manage work given by the country’s communist party and other “decided upon” issues – along with the incompetent attitude shown by officials – is evidence of a poor commitment on the part of the ministry “to work for the people” and insufficient “devotion to the Party.” His statement also added that there is no excuse to improperly handle work given by the communist party just because the work seems insignificant.

Kim also emphasized in the statement that the ministry must correct its failures and ensure that it perfectly carries out all of its responsibilities before the 75th anniversary of the party’s founding on Oct. 10.

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to