North Koreans living in the border region had much to be unhappy about last month, as inspections by the so-called ‘Storm Trooper Units’ cracked down on all kinds of activities that ordinarily make their lives easier.
According to sources who spoke with The Daily NK on the 14th, the corruptibility of the troops only inflamed their annoyance.
People with money or power who would otherwise certainly have been swept up in the inspections got away with their illegalities in various ways, sources say. he complaints of ordinary people without such good fortune, it is alleged, have been directed mostly at Kim Jong Eun, who organized and dispatched the troops.
The Storm Trooper Unit, which was said to be made up of more loyal soldiers from nearer the center, operated in the border area from August 4th to September 4th. They cracked down hard in the beginning, according to sources, vastly increasing penalties when compared to past efforts.
But in the end, the soldiers ended up scrambling for personal gain as welll, meaning that smugglers could exempt themselves from punishment through the ubiquitous medium of bribery.
A source from Sinuiju explained, “People here thought no one could get away with it if they were caught, because the Young General (Kim Jong Eun) had organized the inspection team in a new way. But residents are now disappointed, having heard word that an order forgiving those criminals who benefit the state has been handed down.”
By way of example, the source went on, “None of the bigger traders from Yeokjeon and Chungsong areas of the city who made money in lockstep with the local office of the National Security Agency, People’s Safety Ministry and provincial cadres got punished, and the rumor is that they were forgiven because they volunteered bribes to the state early in the inspection period.”
One employee from a Shinuiju cosmetics factory purchasing department who secretly stole a product called ‘Spring Scent’ from the factory and sold it was excluded from the inspection after bribing the authorities with 21 tons of rice in the name of ‘Supporting the People’s Army’ when the Storm Troopers arrived.
Reactions in North Hamkyung and Yangkang Provinces appear similar.
A source from North Hamkyung said, “Although people are sent to reeducation centers for a phone call to China and sent into the countryside for minor smuggling, people smuggle on a large scale every day under the protection of officials and soldiers.”
“Of the people in their 50s who got exiled in this inspection, there was no one with money,” a Yangkang Province source pointed out. “They were ordinary people who had no money or power. The people with money bribed the authorities and got out of it.”