North Koreans killing secret police?

So says the Daily NK of recent events in the northeastern city of Chongjin, a frequent venue for reports of anti-government sentiment:

A source in North Hamgyung Province told Daily NK on January 19, “During the mourning period, one official from the provincial NSA, one from the prosecutor’s office and two from the People’s Safety Agency were murdered in Cheongjin. The source added, “There was a note found lying next to the body of the executed NSA official which said “˜Punished in the name of the people.'”

North Korean authorities have not released the identities of the victims or any information about the case fearing public disturbances, but authorities are said to be using all resources at their disposal to find the people responsible. The Defense Security Command is helping the other three agencies with the investigation, while a report on the murders has been elevated to the Central Party in Pyongyang.

In December 2010, also in Cheongjin, the retired head of the PSA office in the Sunam district died after being attacked on the street by an unknown assailant. This however is the first time that active serving officers have been slain. The likelihood seems to be that the murders were planned by somebody with a political motive rather than a personal grudge.

The source revealed that bureaucrats in North Hamgyung Province are shocked by the incident. “On the outside they’re furious, saying they’re going to track down the person responsible and torture them, but at the same time they don’t seem to know what to do.

“The fact that privileged officials were killed right under the government’s noses, and while there were special patrols in place for the mourning period, means that the lower down the hierarchy you look bureaucrats are more anxious,” the source said.

The reaction from citizens who are aware of the incident is mostly positive, with some saying “˜they deserved it’, although such encouragement is tempered by concerns that this case will lead to even more stringent controls on the public. There are even rumors spreading that it may have been perpetrated by members of the military, given the bold nature of the crime and the skills required to carry it out. [Daily NK]

There’s obviously no way to verify any of this, of course. According to the report and the rumors on which it’s based, the regime doesn’t know who did this, so it has sealed off the entire city to investigate (that part shouldn’t be so hard to verify). This is not the first report we’ve heard about North Koreans attacking secret police recently. Not even a made guy is protected anymore.

Not that you were wondering, but would I condone this sort of thing? Why, yes I would! Certainly there isn’t any democratic or non-violent way for North Koreans to protect themselves against this regime as they try to eke out some kind of living despite it. It’s not like Ban Ki-Moon is going to so much as say a supportive word on their behalf — if the man isn’t in Beijing’s pocket, he certainly fooled me. Whoever wrote the headline for Liz Sly’s latest report from Syria really put it best: “In Syria, world inaction fuels armed revolt.” Eventually, the same thing will happen in North Korea, right on China’s border, and China will only have itself to blame for letting the political and social pressures build to explosive levels. The odds are fair to good that China, seeking stability at all costs, will intervene and find itself in the middle of a messy insurgency that would catalyze the formation of a regional anti-Chinese military alliance and become a focal point for political dissent within China itself, but I digress. As I once read somewhere, when government becomes destructive of the lives, liberty, and happiness of the people, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. I realize that some people who inhabit this planet’s comfort zones will insist that the North Korean people, despite the lack of alternatives before them, have no right to resort to violent resistance. But those people are obviously American exceptionalists.

Hat tip to a reader.

9 Comments

  1. You obviously have never been to the DPRK, or you would know that people in general do NOT dislike the government there. All they want is better conditions, stability and to continue with the “leader worship” that is normal in East Asian cultures. They do not want to overthrow the government there. I very much doubt that this story is true as told – most stories published by organisations such as the Daily NK are “based on a real event” at best, or completely fabricated, at worst. Some of these stories are just as crazy as the old mythology around Kim Il Sung. But Western media prints it as if it were truth. Be aware that progaganda goes both ways and North Korea is certainly not the only country in the world using it. It is used much more efficiently in the West. This story and the way it is retold here, is a good example.

    [So Alina, we’re all dying to know the basis of your superior knowledge of North Korean public opinion. Do tell us! And by the way, I’ve been to the DPRK twice, technically. – Joshua]




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  2. “As I once read somewhere, when government becomes destructive of the lives, liberty, and happiness of the people, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”

    I think it might also be an obligation. Leaving future generations to deal with a monster one might have slain should be avoided if at all possible. As for killing members of the regime, even if they are low level and maybe just trying to survive…

    The NK state is at war with their people. German soldiers in WWII were mostly normal people who didn’t deserve to die but if you don’t want to lose a war against a totalitarian regime you need to kill their soldiers to some extent.




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  3. Alina said: “You obviously have never been to the DPRK, or you would know that people in general do NOT dislike the government there. All they want is better conditions, stability and to continue with the “leader worship” that is normal in East Asian cultures. They do not want to overthrow the government there. I very much doubt that this story is true as told – most stories published by organisations such as the Daily NK are “based on a real event” at best, or completely fabricated, at worst. Some of these stories are just as crazy as the old mythology around Kim Il Sung. But Western media prints it as if it were truth. Be aware that progaganda goes both ways and North Korea is certainly not the only country in the world using it. It is used much more efficiently in the West. This story and the way it is retold here, is a good example.”

    …have you ever read THE AQUARIUMS OF PYONGYANG or EYES OF THE TAILLESS ANIMALS? Have you ever read testimonies from North Korean defectors? Most of these people that are imprisoned in the gulags DO dislike the government, because the government threw them into these camps for the most ridiculous reasons, kill people because they voice their opinions (and most of these people are killed in front of thousands and tens of thousands of people), kill babies that are half-Chinese, and throw people’s families into camps because of “guilt by association.” Defectors testify how much they come to dislike the regime in North Korea after they have spent years in these concentration camps, and perhaps other citizens feel the same, but are afraid to say anything because if they utter one ounce of displeasure towards the Kims, they’re suddenly awaiting public execution (I do recall something in AQUARIUMS OF PYONGYANG about this). Yes, North Koreans want better conditions; they don’t want to starve to death. But that is most likely impossibly under the rule of the Kim family.

    So yes, I agree with Joshua’s little comment. I would LOVE to see where your omnipotent knowledge about North Koreans’ public opinions on their government comes from.




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  4. My name is Rosa Manson, I am an Independent Consultant and have worked fro both the UN and Red Cross.

    I am hoping to have an open discussion with both the North Korean and Mongolian Ambassadors in London to discuss a multiparty Dialogue mechanism on ‘Knowledge Sharing’ related to all issues on the DPRK.

    My reason fro choosing the Mongolian Ambassador is that the Ambassador in Ulaanbaatar is interested in reopening a PROCESS via the US to renegotiate the Six Party Talks.

    I have set out a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for your perusal.

    Dated: 17th January 2012

    1. Describing the situation of all parties involved and how they relate to each other.

    2. What services each party contributes tot he deal before, during and after the joint venture.

    3. The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), is to identify the roles and responsibilities of each party as they relate to providing ‘Knowledge Sharing’ information cooperation, related to issues of the DPRK.

    4. All parties to participate in ‘Knowledge Sharing’ Multiparty Dialogue Mechanism. Including Strategies, Trade Policies, Economic Development, Aid Effectiveness, Health, Language Learning, Transport, Realisation of Humanitarianism and Brotherhood; Tumen River cooperation; Agriculture; Finance; Joint Activities Cooperation; Joint Funded Operations; International/food Security; Denuclearisation and Six Party Talks.

    5. The ‘Knowledge Sharing’ programme is intended to oepn discussions on Economic Development Assistance, to push forward to prevent armed conflict and establish lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula.

    6. To support all parties conducting ‘Knowledge Sharing’ data and information on cooperation in their respective fields of work.

    7. To allow ‘Knowledge Sharing’ ideas which are outlined within the issues of the DPRK.

    8. Understand the support efforts to North Korea, among all participants including the North Korean Government Officials, and Technicians; Experts, Local Residents and South Korean Supporting Groups.

    9. Contribute to the development of a Development Assistance Model by seeking better ways to enhance the living standards of the North.

    10. All parties should ensure that ‘Knowledge Sharing’ activities are conducted in compliance with all applicable Laws (Federal Laws, International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) ), rules and regulations, including Civil Rigths and other circulars governing cost issues.

    11. Achieve Inter-Korean Reconciliation and cooperation through wider ‘Knowledge Sharing’ activities.

    12. Other activities include Policy Research, Providing Food necessities in Emergency Aid, Development Support, Agricultural and Livestock Support; Helathcare and Medical Aid support, Food Assistance for the Needy and Most Vulnerable.

    I would interested in knowing whether your organisation feels this is a viable proposition given the current situation.

    Rosa Manson




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  5. @ Tumen River Tourism Board, the Tumen should be a river of peace and freedom. Some day, journalists will cross it freely. Please ask Spelunker for advice; tell him I sent you.




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  6. I am going to free North Korean Prison camps. God came to me and completely took over my life for this, it’s only been a week and I have picked up so much momentum…it’s time. It’s time to gather up fellow christians and use the power of God. I won’t wait any longer. It must be done!




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