North Korean military authorities recently conducted an investigation into military drivers as part of wider efforts to crack down on corruption and improve discipline, Daily NK has learned. 

The investigation into the drivers is likely related to a resolution adopted by the Central Military Committee on June 1 urging “stronger regulations” and “severe punishments” to curb corruption and improve discipline within the ranks.

According to a Daily NK military source on June 15, North Korean military authorities began the investigation on June 8. The probe focuses on military drivers under the direct control of the General Staff Department (GSD), General Political Bureau (GPB) and Ministry of People’s Armed Forces (MPAF), as well as other security, police and judicial organizations. The investigation reportedly lasted 10 days, ending on June 17. 

Military authorities conducted surprise investigations of vehicle repair centers affiliated with the military command along with logistics units. Daily NK’s source said that the Vehicle Oversight Department (responsible for technical vehicle inspection certificates and license plates) and the Vehicle Screening Department (responsible for issuing driving licences) also came under close scrutiny. 

The investigation aimed to identify corruption among military drivers – including those who drive private vehicles and standby vehicles for officials – ahead of the summer military drills, which are scheduled to start on July 1.

Investigators reportedly focused on corruption occurring during the appointment of military drivers based on suspicions that many drivers are given their positions through bribes to military officers.

“The investigation was focused on illegal practices during the conscription process, as well as corruption during the issuance of certificates confirming vehicle inspections, the issuance of military vehicle license plate numbers, and the issuance of various classes of driving licenses,” the source told Daily NK.  

“If any drivers are suspected of having colluded with their superiors during the issuance of any of these documents, the Military Security Command was ordered to immediately start an investigation,” he added. 

Another important aspect of the investigation was to ensure drivers complied with North Korean military regulations. Military drivers are required to carry proper documentation while driving; drive only vehicles they are allowed to drive (based on the type of license they have); ensure that the vehicle history record matches the car they are driving; and, avoid driving cars that have expired inspection certificates. 

The investigation was led by the GSD Operation Bureau’s Department 8 and the MSC (formerly the Defense Security Command). Department 8 focused its probe on military units stationed within Pyongyang, while the MSC investigated drivers who work at the headquarters of the military’s leadership (including the GSD, GPB, and MPAF).

Department 8 manages a range of administrative tasks for North Korea’s military, including the issuing of Sunday travel passes for soldiers.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.