Special Police Squads Organized under PSM

Shenyang, China — The North Korean authorities appear to be moving to strengthen regulations against residents at a time when military tensions are gradually rising. According to sources, special police squads have been formed in each province under the People’s Safety Ministry (PSM) to take action to block out information on foreign countries and root out anti-regime suspects.

A source from Shinuiju reported on Tuesday, “The special police squads consist of some 300 agents in each provincial office of the Peoples’ Safety Ministry. Their purpose is to crack down on offenders against the regime and its system.”

Such activities have traditionally been the responsibility of the National Security Agency (NSA), whereas the People’s Safety Ministry has normally focused on finding common criminals and persons who break North Korea’s “anti-socialist” conventions.

Therefore, the launch of the special police squads seems to be part of a trend toward strengthening the PSM’s authority after it was promoted to “Ministry” status earlier in the year.

The Shinuiju source said, “Pyongyang is trying to enhance the position of the People’s Safety Ministry. They will now deal with usage of cell phones in the border region, circulation of foreign video clips, spreading of leaflets, denouncements of the authorities and other anti-regime offenses.”

Bearing in mind the Cheonan incident, there is a possibility that the North Korean authorities are preparing for confrontation following the impending re-launch of South Korean psychological warfare.

North Korea has already said it will attack the broadcasting facilities if South Korea follows through on its promise to restart the broadcasts.

According to the source, this latest measure implies that the situation in North Korean society is unstable. He explained how the reputation of Kim Jong Il has been damaged, saying, “In an event to welcome Kim Jong Il back home, people whispered among themselves, ‘He tiptoed here and there in secret and made an exhibition of himself,’ or, ‘I wish he had not come back.’”

Meanwhile, North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity (NKIS) reported today, “On the 20th when the announcement of the results of the Cheonan incident investigation were revealed, Oh Keuk Ryul, the Vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission stated on the Third Broadcast, cable radio for North Korean residents, ‘Chairman Kim Jong Il has ordered the entire army, the People’s Safety Ministry, the National Security Agency, Worker and Peasant Red Guard and the Young Red Guard to move to a war footing.’”

It added, “To Pyongyang and neighboring cities, a decree from the Central Committee of the Party has been handed down demanding that rallies be organized entitled “Retaliation for enemy retaliation, total war for enemy’s total war!”