Rimjin-gang updates us on the meth trade in North Hamgyeong, in the extreme northeast of North Korea:
I would say that the buying and selling of these substances are far more active than ever before. The price for these products is increasing. A year ago it was 100 Chinese RMB (around 16 US dollars) for 1 gram. Since the beginning of this year it has increased to 100 RMB for 0.8 gram. A small sack of product, made for only 1 to 2 uses, is sold at 30,000 NK won (around 4 US dollars). [Rimjin-gang]
I wonder if this is tied to a shortage of precursor chemicals as a result of the border crackdown. Otherwise, I’d have suspected that the loss of access to Chinese markets would have driven the price down, not up.
The source also reports that “many” cops and soldiers use meth, too:
Partner: Yes. There are many. Sometimes they go and buy eoleum by themselves. If they don’t have money with them, they’ve been known to pawn something like a bicycle. Since those who carry out the crackdowns are involved in eoleum trafficking and some of them are also users, the authorities are not able to enforce controls.
Odd. I used to prosecute guys for using meth in the American Army, and I know how quickly this stuff can spread through a unit and wreck its efficiency. For the first few months, it actually makes people better at their jobs. Later, it causes them to miss formation, sleep on the job, and finally, it turns them psychotic.
It has occurred to me that a soldier with a meth problem and no more pay to spend would trade just about anything–including an RPG-7–for an eight ball.
Look for a Part 2 to Rimjin-gang’s report in the coming days.