North Korean officials punished for corruption

North Korean soldiers in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province.
North Korean soldiers in Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province. Image: Daily NK

Several party cadres have been punished for corruption in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province, according to sources in North Korea.

“On July 8, a commission on judicial affairs held in the city of Kaechon fired three cadres and sentenced them to work in a disciplinary labor center,” a source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK.

The three who received the sentences include the second department manager of the city’s police force, the city party committee’s membership manager and a disciplinary labor center official.

The city police’s second department manager was convicted for issuing travel permits to the border area and Pyongyang in exchange for bribes, while the manager for the party membership manager was convicted for pressuring teachers for gifts and sexual favors in return for promises of party membership. The disciplinary labor center official was convicted of reducing disciplinary labor terms after receiving money.

“It seems that the authorities wanted to make an example of them to highlight corruption. Similar things are probably happening elsewhere, not just in Kaechon,” added the source.

North Korea’s latest anti-corruption campaign follows statements issued earlier in the year by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“[The Party and people] should intensify the struggle to eradicate both serious and trivial instances of abuse of power, bureaucratism and corruption, which would wreak havoc on the harmonious whole of the Party and the masses and undermine the socialist system,” Kim said in his 2019 New Year’s address.

Kim Jong Un attending North Korea’s first primary party committee meeting in December 2016
Kim Jong Un attending North Korea’s first primary party committee meeting in December 2016. Image: Rodong Sinmun

In his prior 2017 New Year’s speech, Kim said, “Wage an intensive struggle to root out abuses of power, bureaucratism and corruption that spoil the flower garden of single-hearted unity,” while during the first primary party committee meeting in December 2016, he criticized the prevalence of corruption noting that it reached all the way down to the lower organizations of the party.

However, residents have voiced concerns about the unfair application of anti-corruption laws, stating that all should be punished equally under the law regardless of their status and class, according to a separate source in South Pyongan Province.

“People say that the big fish have all gotten away and only small fish were caught. Paying lip service to eradicating corruption will not change anything,” he said.

*Translated by Yongmin Lee