Ah, North Korea — as gifted at publicity as it at humanity. Perhaps just as Blaine Harden was sending the manuscript for Escape from Camp 14 to his publisher, shortly before the book would generate intense interest among those on the Outer Earth who still did not know about North Korea’s gulags, North Korea may have been scratching out a new prison compound contiguous to Camp 14′s northern boundary. In due course, Curtis spots it:
1. The perimeter is consistent with the signs characteristic of a kwan-li-so, a political prison camp; however, there is no witness corroboration of what this compound is. It could be a military base, although the perimeters of military bases, usually have a different appearance. Or, it could be a temporary detention center or a kyo-hwa-so, a reeducation camp.
2. There are no direct road links between this compound and Camp 14. The only road links pass outside both compounds. That suggests to me that this area is not administered jointly with Camp 14, and most likely holds a different classification of prisoners. The location is probably a matter of geographical convenience — this is a good part of North Korea to hide people.
3. The compound is small — probably large enough to hold a few hundred prisoners, if this is a prison, and if it’s filled to capacity. That estimate may change after I count the huts.
4. The camp was scratched out of the earth sometime between December 2006 and September 2011. Here’s a close-up of one section of the boundary. This image was taken in December 2006:
Here’s the same spot in September 2011:
I considered the possibility that this camp may now hold people from Camp 22, if indeed Camp 22 has been closed. The reports of Camp 22′s closure, however, post-date the construction of this camp’s perimeter. Furthermore, the reports of Camp 22′s closure describe it as a sudden, unplanned reaction to the defection of the camp’s warden, after this compound was created.
See also Korea Real Time.