Trade officials and security officers at the Wonsan Textile Factory in Gangwon Province were recently dismissed for smuggling goods across the border, Daily NK has learned.
“Three Wonsan Textile Factory trade officials and security officers, along with the trade officials who assisted them with the brazen act of smuggling and violating nationwide quarantine measures, were caught and subsequently dismissed from their positions,” a source in Gangwon Province told Daily NK on Thursday.
According to the source, the Wonsan Textile Factory was recently investigated by the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea for violating national quarantine measures. Kim Jae Ryong, the head of the Organization Administrative Department, oversaw the investigation and reportedly fired the trade officials and others who had smuggled goods and appointed their replacements.
The source said the smugglers had showed “a flagrant disregard” of quarantine regulations when they traded goods without government approval in November. As they were unable to send the goods directly to Wonsan Port, they reportedly went all the way to Nampo Port to pick up the goods.
The smugglers had also claimed they were sneaking in supplies such as cooking oil, flour, and fertilizer to mitigate food shortage problems. In reality, however, they were selling these goods to farms in nearby counties, an act that angered workers at the textile factory, the source said.
Those with influence and authority such as factory heads, traders, along with members of the Ministry of Social Security and Ministry of State Security received 90% of the cooking oil and flour. The remaining 10% went to the factory “work-innovators” who stored the goods in the factory’s logistics department so they could be distributed as part of “special holiday rations.”
“The investigation deemed this to be a serious offense because not only were the goods smuggled during a nationwide emergency quarantine, but they ended up filling the bellies of the upper class and not the laborers,” explained the source. “Anyone related to this offense was dismissed and there was an order to punish them.”
According to the source, Kim Jae Ryong, upon hearing about the results of the investigation, said: “Aside from the fact that these products were brought in illegally, the way they blatantly violated government policies is unacceptable.” He heavily criticized the smuggling because it was aimed at “deceiving the state.”
“All those involved have been fired and it seems they will soon receive criminal sentences as well,” said the source.
*Translated by Susan Lee