North Korean Intellectuals’ Solidarity (NKIS), citing a North Korean source, reported on the 3rd that factory officials at the Kimchaek Iron and Steel Complex, who stand accused of selling steel at below the state price and distributing the profits to factory employees, are awaiting word of their punishment.
NKIS, referring again to the North Korean source, stated, “This serious issue was exposed as a result of an inspection by the People’s Army Defense Security Command.”
According to the source, Chinese companies are unwilling to import steel at the North Korean state price. In response, Steel Complex managers began clandestinely exporting steel at the price demanded by Chinese companies, and using the profits to pay employees.
The source explained, “At the Complex, not only has the steel sold to Chinese companies been at an illegal price, but that money has been spent on providing rations for employees. Because the employees in the factories have been struggling to get by, officials decided to sell the steel at a lower price, as demanded by the Chinese.”
He added, “But when this became problematic, the manager, the head bookkeeper and others related administrative workers were immediately fired, and the persons responsible are now awaiting punishment.”
One defector who heard the news pointed out, “It is nice to hear there are some managers who are concerned about the welfare of citizens in North Korea. The reality in North Korea today is that people are becoming criminals as a result of trying to help the workers.”
The NKIS source relayed more, “after it was revealed that the Complex’ security unit, which is in charge of transporting fuel, had stolen 20% of the imported cokes, somewhere in the region of ten people were arrested.”
The source explained, “Currently, there is a shortage of cokes at the Kimchaek Iron and Steel Works Complex, so only three furnaces (the No. 1 and No. 3 Blast Furnaces and the No. 2 Steel Electric Furnace) out of six have been operating. In the midst of such a situation, extorting fuel will inevitably be treated as a serious crime against the state.”
He then relayed, “After receiving a report of this incident, committed armed soldiers under the leadership of the National Defense Commission to inspecting production, trade, the management of personnel, border security and even the citizens in the area. The atmosphere at the Complex has been stifled by fear and tension.”