North Hamgyong Province’s justice department is reportedly investigating a member of the provincial Ministry of Social Security for attempting to use his position to wrongfully ensure his wife’s participation in the upcoming Socialist Women’s Union of Korea (SWUK) conference.

“The Musan County Ministry of Social Security case management bureau’s vice director is currently under investigation,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Apr. 28. “[He is being investigated] because he promoted his wife to the position of chairwoman of an elementary chapter of the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea to secure his wife’s participation in their upcoming conference in Pyongyang.”

According to the source, the man, surnamed Kim, took advantage of his connections with cadres at the county’s party committee organization department. With the help of the organization department, he removed the previous hardworking chairwoman of the elementary SWUK chapter from her position so that his wife could fill it. 

Kim took advantage of the plight of a county organization department official who had a family member who had been arrested. He promised the official that he would “take care of [their] case… [in exchange for] helping [Kim’s] wife attend the SWUK conference.” The county party official reportedly assisted Kim with his request in exchange for help in dealing with the situation involving his relative.

“[Kim and the organization department] spread outlandish rumors that cast doubt on the former SWUK chapter chairwoman’s conduct and morals. People became so outraged that she had no choice but to leave the position,” the source said. “Then, they recommended the MSS case management bureau vice director’s wife to the position and forced the chapter to put the name of the vice director’s wife on the list of conference participants.”

Hamhung, North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Clay Gilliland

The chairwoman of the larger countywide Musan SWUK chapter was initially unaware of the seriousness of the situation. However, she realized the true reason behind the elementary chapter chairwoman’s removal from her position when she saw the organization department’s instructions to put the new chairwoman on the conference participant list. When she recognized what had happened, she immediately reported the incident to the North Hamgyong Province SWUK. 

Upon receiving the report from Musan County, the North Hamgyong Province SWUK chairwoman was outraged that the county officials had used their positions to commit acts contrary to party principles of fairness in recruiting. Then, she asked the North Hamgyong Province party committee to investigate the case.

The provincial party committee ordered the North Hamgyong Province justice department to investigate Musan County MSS officials for problems, including the abuse of authority. Kim is also under investigation as a result of this order.

“The provincial party committee was outraged when they heard about the case in Musan County,” the source said, adding, “They took systematic measures to reduce the quota of participants in the SWUK conference by half and hand the order down to other counties… Kim’s wife, who only became the chairwoman of the elementary SWUK chapter by taking the position from someone else, gave up her seat out of fairness to the rules.” 

On Apr. 13, Rodong Sinmun reported that the Seventh Socialist Women’s Union of Korea Conference will take place in Pyongyang in mid-June. All women  over the age of 30 are required to join the organization, one of four labor organizations in North Korea.

*Translated by S & J

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to