A recent investigation by North Korean authorities identified a high incidence of unauthorized entry into Pyongyang. Following the investigation, the authorities have decided to replace all personnel of the No. 10 Checkpoints, which are responsible for overseeing people’s entry into the capital city.

Despite the intense anti-disease measures that are already in effect, it appears the government is once again tightening movement restrictions and punishing those who have “failed” to protect the “capital of the revolution.” 

According to a military source inside North Korea on Nov. 9, this decision was based on a report recently submitted by the Emergency Anti-epidemic Command to the Central Military Commission.

The report included a comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of entry restrictions into the capital. In particular, it was reported that in the third quarter of this year alone there were over 110 violations of regulations regarding people’s entry into Pyongyang. The authorities, for their part, saw this as a problem for the “protection of the leadership of the revolution.”

covid quarantine
Disease control officials testing drivers for COVID-19 symptoms in Pyongyang’s Manggyongdae District. / Image: Rodong Sinmun

In response, the Central Military Commission and the Central Emergency Anti-epidemic Command issued an order on Nov. 3 to replace personnel at all No. 10 Checkpoints under the command of the Capital Security Command, along with all personnel at security checkpoints under the command of the General Staff Department’s Operations Bureau. Personnel at these checkpoints manage the entry of people into the capital city. 

The source said that the authorities, in order to underscore the seriousness of this matter, also ordered that these changes be carried out by Nov. 10.

Personnel involved in running checkpoints at certain places where “unauthorized entry” occurred – including the Sunhwa River, Mangyongdae, Seumul-ri, Kan-ri, Jangchon, Sangwon, Myungho-dong, and Dongbuk-ri checkpoints – have been demoted.

Personnel at other checkpoints have suffered the humiliation of being transferred out of their posts. While they have not been directly punished, they face political repercussions and will lose the qualifications necessary to become high-ranking officials in the future.

“The preventive measures against COVID-19 and the closure of the border since last year were aimed directly at protecting the leadership,” said the source, adding, “The country strove to eliminate any possibility that the Supreme Leader [Kim Jong Un] could be infected, but lower-level officials have rendered these efforts futile.”

The move to punish checkpoint personnel may also be an attempt by mid- and high-level officials to avoid taking responsibility for cracks in anti-disease measures. 

“Ranking officials have been assigned from the Capital Security Command as well as the executive, personnel, and operations departments of the General Staff Department Operations Bureau to directly oversee staff turnover at the checkpoints,” the source said, adding, “A detailed investigation is also underway to ensure there are no further problems.”

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

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