[imText1]Two jailed criminals in a police station in Manghyang district, Hoiryeong city, escaped the prison cell while the station was on fire, which was set by an arsonist on February 12, inside source from North Korea told the Daily NK on Wednesday. The escapees, who were in their twenties, were arrested for smuggling charges.
They were caught by security officers on the 12th and waiting to be transported to local police headquarters for interrogation.
The source said that in the evening, around 10 PM, unknown arsonist set fire on armory that caused confusion. Amid fire, two smugglers broke the prison bars and escaped. Although the Manghyang district security guards declared state of emergency over Hoiryeong and tried to catch the jail breakers, they failed.
In a district security office in North Korea, about 15 security officers (police) are stationed to take care of a certain area. On that night, however, only two or three officers were reportedly present.
District security office runs a jail cell in order to contain arrested criminal before he/she transferred to a local security (police) headquarters. In a local security headquarters, criminals are classified into two groups, whether to be indicted or released on parole.
The source said “The young men (escaped criminals) might have been afraid of the recent wave of incidents occurring along the border, afraid of government reaction to those early this month. I think they have already crossed the border to China.”
On the next day of escape incident in Manghayng district, the other three criminals also escaped from a district security office in Osandeok, also in Hoiryeong. Osandeok district is located near Kim Jong Suk statute, that of Kim Jong Il’s mother, in downtown Hoiryeong.
The escapers of Osandeok security office are also known to be related to smuggling activities.
“No such thing (prison break) would have been even imagined in the past,” the inside source said, “and I think Hoiryeong is particularly vulnerable to this kind of acts because the city is close to China thus easier to be escaped.”
Recently, North Korean residents are increasingly defiant against security authorities; fight with them has become widespread. In addition, series of prison break incidents indicate collapse of authority of North Korean government and increasing sense of popular unrest.