[imText1]A source inside North Korea reported on the 22nd of November that all sorts of crime are rampant in Hoiryeong of North Hamkyung Province, and locals, especially women, are so afraid that they dare not go outside at night.
The source said, “At meetings of people’s units, locals received instructions not to go out late at night and women were especially advised to not be too late coming back home.” The source added, “Most crimes are committed by soldiers who have been stationed in Hoiryeong for construction work.
Since early this year, the North Korean authorities have been carrying out apartment building construction and road expansion work in Hoiryeong under the project named “Embellishing Mother’s Hometown.” Hoiryeong is known as the birthplace of Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Il’s mother.
This year celebrates the 90th anniversary of Kim Jong Suk’s birth, and many construction projects are underway, driven on by the slogan, ‘‘Let’s invite our benevolent General to Hoiryeong.’’ Last year in November, a mosaic mural depicting Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il was installed in both Poongsan-ri and Daedeuk-ri in Hoiryeong.
In early May, the nation’s new prime minister Kim Yong Il visited Hoiryeong by train. His train was loaded with glass and cement, and the minister delivered the construction material to the Hoiryeong’s People’s Committee, leaving a message saying, “Hoiryeong is the birthplace of Kim Jong Suk. Clean up and embellish the entire city.”
As the authorities started carrying out the extensive construction work in Hoiryeong, they found more manpower was needed. Begining last month, the State started mobilizing construction units of the People’s Army to the city for the expansion and paving of the road stretching between Hoiryeong and Chongjin. It is the solders of the construction units who are responsible for the violent crimes of rape and plunder that have continued to occur in Hoiryeong
The source said, “Ever since those soldiers came to Hoiryeong, the city has been afflicted with many incidents of criminal activity, all of which have greatly concerned the city’s party committee.” The source said, “Even though October is the harvest season, there is not enough corn left for harvest in many of the cornfields around the construction sites.”
What is worse, many houses are being ransacked by the soldiers, and local residents cannot leave their homes empty even for a moment, the source said.
The city’s party committee is casting suspicion on the soldiers. However, it cannot recklessly push for an investigation against the soldiers because the committee lacks hard evidence and the army has become too powerful over the years.
“A few days ago, there was an incident where a soldier broke into a house, raped a twenty-two-year-old old woman and ran away,” the source said. “In order to protect themselves from the soldiers, each community has placed a guard at its people’s unit guard post twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and made sure that the guard reports to the People’s Safety Agency in case an incident occurs.”
Individuals who go to night markets and females who get back home from the market late at night are particularly vulnerable. The Safety Agency of Hoiryeong has decided to increase the number of patrols and ordered the locals to organize their own security teams in their areas, the source said.
A defector who came to the South in 2006 said, “People used to admire the People’s Army. Nowadays, the Army is regarded as a gang of thieves.” The defector said, “The army behaves highhandedly, and there are always conflicts in the areas around army bases.”