A cadre with North Korea’s border patrol in Yanggang Province was arrested in mid-July for abetting remittances from overseas, Daily NK has learned. 

A Daily NK source in North Korea said Monday that the political guidance officer of the Yanggang Province-based Third Company, Second Battalion, 252nd Regiment, 25th Brigade of the border patrol — a man in his 30s identified by his family name of Pak — was arrested on July 13. He suffered the indignity of being stripped of his epaulets in front of the company, then shackled and taken away in a military truck.

Until February of this year, Pak reportedly used his soldiers to collect money from China and transfer it to remittance agents, or “brokers,” despite the closure of the Sino-North Korean border due to COVID-19.

remittance ryanggang province border agreement equipment
A sentry post on the Sino-North Korean border in Sakju County, North Pyongan Province. / Image: Daily NK

That is to say, he collected money sent by defectors in South Korea to their families in North Korea from accomplices in China on behalf of the brokers, all the while collecting a commission.

However, the authorities caught on to him during an intensive campaign against users of Chinese-made mobile phones. Pak’s activities were uncovered after a local resident whose money he had transferred was arrested.

In other words, as North Korean authorities carried out their operation against Chinese mobile phones, they conducted additional investigations on associates and even launched operations to arrest suspected wrongdoers.

“Wide-scale investigations of border patrol officers and soldiers connected with users of Chinese-made mobile phones are currently ongoing,” said the source. “The political guidance officer was arrested as an extension of those investigations.”

“[From the perspective of the authorities], the company’s political guidance officer — who should carry out the government’s policy to close the border due to COVID-19 better than anyone — broke quarantine regulations,” he continued, adding, “The punishment the political guidance officer faces will not be light.”

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