Great Confiscation Updates

Via the Daily NK and the North Korean-affiliated Chosun Sinbo, we can now see the new North Korean currency that will replace the hard-earned savings of millions of desperate people. Guess whose face is on the bill. You’ll be amazed.


More here. Personally, I think the coins look like Japanese Yen.

The Daily NK reports that the situation in North Korea continues to be chaotic and relays fragmentary reports of murders, suicides, and isolated outbreaks of dissent. The circulation of rumors fuels this, as the government’s policies as to the amounts that can be exchanged, and what citizens can do with their savings, continue to shift. The hope that the regime will relent may give North Koreans a reason to wait until the last minute to exchange their old currency, which means the tension could peak at or near the end of the exchange period.

The Times of London notes that even foreign diplomatic missions in Pyongyang are experiencing hardship because of this. All of the shops closed without notice, meaning those without food are getting hungry.

“It came as a great surprise to everyone,” one Western diplomat in Pyongyang told The Times. “Everything closed — no notice given. When we made inquiries we discovered it was because the currency was no longer valid. It’s really quite dramatic. [….]

“One of the worries our North Korean staff have is whether they will have enough food to get through to next week,” the manager of a foreign organisation in Pyongyang said. “Our employees have access to foreign currency but most people don’t and they could be in trouble. [Times of London]

Imagine what North Koreans must be enduring now.


  1. At least they put his smug mug on one denomination only instead of on every single bill like the Chinese did with Mao. While showing various Chinese bills to a group of students in Illinois, one pointed to Mao and asked, “Who’s that man?” A teacher answered, “That’s their emperor.” The teacher wasn’t far wrong.


  2. And that appears to the bill that isn’t in circulation. Actually, the use / disuse of KIS’s image works both ways. Any image of His Pickled Majesty must be treated with reverence and nothing that bears it can be folded, sat upon, crumpled, or used to scour the terminus of one’s alimentary canal.

    According to the Daily NK report linked in this post, people have taken to burning their worthless currency, which ought to be seen as a fairly daring act of protest.


  3. The Ceaucescu moment could be closer than it seems.

    Angry citizens burned piles of old bills at two separate locations in the eastern coastal city of Hamhung on Monday, the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet that focuses on North Korean affairs, reported late Thursday, citing an unidentified North Korean resident.

    It quoted the resident as saying he saw graffiti and leaflets criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in and around a college in Hamhung – a rare move in a country where the totalitarian government keeps tight control over its 24 million people.

    Dictatorships rarely end well. I was there when this one did.

    The collapse of Pyongyang will feature similarities to both Romania and Iraq but will in its own way be worse than both – it will be seen as the failure not only of a state, but of a religion. ranks Juche as the 10th largest religion in the world. May the stench of Juche’s burning corpse forever remind us of the misery spread through idolatry, materialism, statism and personality cults.


  4. Oh, now we have the shoot-to-kill order for border crossers:

    Report: N.Korea orders soldiers to shoot defectors

    Posted: Dec 5, 2009 01:03 AM PST

    Updated: Dec 5, 2009 06:03 PM PST

    Associated Press Writer
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea has ordered its border guards to open fire on anyone who crosses its border without permission, in what could be an attempt to thwart defections by people disgruntled over its recent currency reform, a news report said Saturday.

    The National Defense Commission – the top government body headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il – recently instructed soldiers to kill unauthorized border crossers on the spot, South Korea’s mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper said, citing unidentified sources inside the North.

    It said the order could be an attempt by the communist government to stop members of North Korea’s middle class who are angry over suddenly being deprived of their money from leaving the country.

    Officials at South Korea’s spy agency were not immediately available for comment Saturday.

    Thousands of North Koreans have defected to South Korea in recent years, most of them via China. Last year, about 2,800 North Koreans arrived in the South, up from about 2,500 in 2007.

    The reported move came amid signs of growing anger among North Korean citizens left with hoards of worthless bills.

    Angry citizens burned piles of old bills at two separate locations in the eastern coastal city of Hamhung on Monday, the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet that focuses on North Korean affairs, reported Thursday, citing an unidentified North Korean resident.

    This is what I predicted last year. The cult is becoming more compulsory (kill anyone immediately who tries to leave), more rigorous (150 day ‘battle’ followed by 100 day ‘battle’) and will produce a critical mass event (what I am calling the Ceaucescu moment) which may bring down Pyongyang. The missionaries are getting their message through and the word appears to be spreading. The missionary NGOs in the ROK are chomping at the bit to get across the 38th parallel as soon as the tiniest crack appears. Then the real war begins in earnest.