Low-ranking soldiers have been stealing food from homes near the Pyongyang General Hospital construction site in Pyongyang’s Munhung District, Daily NK has learned.

“Soldiers from Construction Bureau 8 and the Hero Guard Corps working on the construction have been breaking into homes and stealing rice cookers, electronics and, of course, food,” a Pyongyang-based source told Daily NK on Apr. 15. 

Soldiers typically break into the apartments after 1 AM and reportedly scale exterior walls using hooks they latch onto apartment railings. 

The soldiers prefer homes that are vacant or have only one occupant. Daily NK sources reported, however, that there was an instance where assailants entered a house and got into a fight with the apartment’s six occupants. 

Locals have even claimed that soldiers have used “gas” used for training purposes to stun apartment dwellers. 

“The soldiers will spray a special gas in the house. People aren’t knocked out, but are unable to move and have to watch the soldiers steal their stuff,” one source in the city said. 

Soldiers are stealing because they are not receiving enough food from their superiors, Daily NK sources reported. 

“The authorities consider construction of the Pyongyang General Hospital their top priority right now,” another source told Daily NK. “But it seems like the food being sent to the construction for the workers isn’t actually making it to them.” 

Daily NK sources speculated that most of the food is being taken by higher-level military officials. These officials will often order their subordinates to “acquire” food and other supplies.

*Translated by Violet Kim

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

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Seulkee Jang is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about her articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.