An armed North Korean soldier recently deserted from his unit, the 4th Corps in Haeju, South Hwanghae Province, Daily NK has learned.

According to a Daily NK source on June 27, a soldier in his 20s, surnamed Kang, deserted his post during his night shift around 1 AM on June 17, still armed with an assault rifle.

Kang enlisted in 2018 and was assigned to a 4th Corps command guard company after basic training. He was bullied relentlessly by superiors, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

Kang was often forced to work overtime during night shifts. When he protested, he was beaten for his “rebelliousness.”

Soldiers marching during the Party Foundation Day military parade on Oct. 10, 2020. / Image: KCNA

Resentment against his superiors appears to be the main reason for his desertion.

Despite the North Korean military authorities’ efforts to educate young people with ideological training that emphasizes the “sacred honor” of “protecting the motherland,” there continues to be criticism inside the military about repeated instances of abuse and lack of discipline, which includes blatant demands for bribes.

Kang’s desertion took place during the Third Plenary Meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (June 15-18). This shocked not only his military unit but the whole area of Haeju as well, according to the source.

“The command officers are expected to face serious consequences along with Kang, because the armed desertion happened during a major political event,” the source said.

“Officers under the 4th Corps as well as the division and brigade officers have been ordered to arrest Kang and ‘use deadly force if met with resistance,’” the source added.

*Translated by Kyungmin Kim

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