It has been reported that a North Korean woman from Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, was arrested by Ministry of State Security agents for attempting to defect near the border area of Rason City.
The woman, who is in her 40s, was allegedly a wholesale business operator in Sinuiju and is now in custody. She was thought to have been under the protection of MSS cadres after paying considerable bribes, but to no avail.
“In the middle of the month, the woman left for Rason City from Sinuiju and disappeared, but she was eventually arrested after a 15-day joint arrest operation conducted by the Ministry of State Security (MSS), and was transported to Sinuiju. She sensed that she was to become a scapegoat due to a power struggle between MSS cadres and tried to disappear, but failed in the end,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on July 31.
According to the source, she accumulated enormous wealth under the protection of a Sinuiju MSS cadre, and in return, the cadre also became as influential as his superiors by using his newfound wealth. But it was envy from other MSS officials that led to their downfall.
“As the standard of living of MSS agents is also largely dependent on bribes, the other cadres began to envy his prosperity,” the source said.
“The other high-ranking cadres decided to use their strengthened powers of dismissal and demotion issued by Kim Jong Un. They decided to investigate the woman after deeming it unacceptable for a low-ranking official to be so influential, and the cadre found out about the plot and told her to escape beforehand,” the source noted.
The woman, well aware of the unforgiving nature of senior MSS officials who stay on the trail of a target until the very end, quickly moved to her friends’ house in Rason City, but was eventually caught by a rapid response team tasked with tracking her down.
“A week after the woman disappeared, the MSS initiated a joint arrest operation, covertly dispatching teams to arrest her near the border areas. If it were a usual case, she could have been recorded as a missing person and succeeded in escaping. But she has a lot of compromising information on corrupt senior MSS officials, so the arrest operation was conducted swiftly,” a separate source in North Pyongan Province said.
“In fact, if it were an ordinary case, she would not be facing serious punishment because there’s no evidence showing that she attempted to defect. But because she is caught up in a power struggle between the MSS cadres, she’ll undoubtedly be sent to a correction camp under the charge of attempted defection.”