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The suspects in the killing of the wife of a North Hamgyong Province Ministry of Social Security officer in late September have recently been apprehended, Daily NK has learned. 

On Oct. 15, Daily NK learned from a source in North Hamgyong Province that those suspected in the homicide were arrested by the Hoeryong Ministry of Social Security early this month. The arrested suspects are known to be Kim, 40, and Han, 30, both female residents of Nammoon-dong, a district of Hoeryong. 

On average, investigations into general criminal cases begin about ten days after a crime has been reported to the authorities. North Korean law enforcement officials handle dozens of reports a day and, usually, it takes over a month for an investigation to be closed.

However, the investigation for this case began right after it was reported. Remarkably, it took only five days after the crime was reported for the authorities to start an investigation.

The source explained that this is a “grave case politically” because a law enforcement officer’s wife was murdered in “broad daylight.” He added that the Hoeryong Ministry of Social Security’s “full mobilization” of its Criminal Investigation Department and the Inspection Department “seems to have resulted in the rapid pace of the investigation.”

A force of fifteen people were mobilized from the city’s Ministry of Social Security Criminal Investigation Department and the Inspection Department to track down the suspects. The decision to put such a large number of people on the case was made because the authorities apparently believed it would expedite the investigation.  

Ministry of Social Security officers who took on the case concentrated their investigation on those who spoke with the victim on the phone the day of the murder. This strategy helped the investigators apprehend the two suspects. 

One of the suspects, Kim, was revealed to have spoken on the phone with the victim on the day of the murder. After her arrest, Kim was subjected to intense interrogation by officers from the Ministry of Social Security, during which she confessed to having “conspired with Han to murder the victim after luring her to the area near the [local] zoo.”

Shockingly, it was found that the murder suspects were informants of the victim’s husband, an officer with the Ministry of Social Security.

There are rumors circulating that the victim’s husband may have had his own informants commit the murder, particularly since the murder was “premediated and meticulously planned.”

“The local Ministry of Social Security appears to be attempting to conceal the results of the investigation, possibly because of the impact the case could have [on public opinion],” the source added.

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Lee Chae Un is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. She can be reached at