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‘Accident Prevention Month’ means police extort greater than standard in North Korea — Radio Free Asia

November is “Accident Prevention Measures Month” in North Korea – which signifies that police are shaking down residents for fines and bribes greater than standard, sources within the remoted nation informed Radio Free Asia.

Paying off the cops is a lifestyle in North Korea. 

Since most North Koreans can barely survive on the salaries of their government-assigned jobs – which in 2018 averaged about U.S.$4 monthly – many households have aspect jobs, shopping for and promoting items as retailers or offering companies.

Cops and different authority figures, nonetheless, use their positions to extract bribes or nice folks and pocket the cash when they’re in violation of minor security codes. 

November and Could are government-sponsored accident prevention months, so folks have to be particularly cautious as a result of raids and crackdowns are extra frequent, a resident within the metropolis of Tanchon within the japanese province of South Hamgyong informed RFA’s Korean Service on situation of anonymity for safety causes.

The official line is that the additional consideration is to spice up site visitors security. However in actuality, law enforcement officials “tyrannically exploit folks underneath the pretext of stopping accidents,” the supply mentioned. “Folks complain that that is going too far.”

Folks go as far as to liken law enforcement officials to thieves or “Oppashi,” a villainous Japanese police officer from a preferred North Korean movie set through the time Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula.

Police will vigorously ticket each little violation they’ll discover, scanning automobile and bike license plates to verify they’re updated, the supply mentioned.

Even bicycle license plates are scrutinized. “Bicycle license plates was once issued after the proprietor registered the bicycle on the native police workplace, however no one has been doing that because the early 2000s,” she mentioned. “So that you both make your personal or purchase it from the market and fasten it to the entrance of the bike.”

If discovered with out a plate, bike homeowners can anticipate to pay 1,000 received (12 cents) for normal bicycles and 10,000 received ($1.21) for electrical ones, in line with the supply.

On the finish of the month, the native safety division with the fewest accidents through the month is taken into account to have completed a superb job, sources mentioned.

Authorities additionally test for office violations, a resident of Chongjin within the northeastern province of North Hamgyong informed RFA on situation of anonymity to talk freely. If the police spot a violation, companies could be pressured to quickly shut.

“Safety guards have been inspecting business service amenities similar to eating places and public baths,” the second supply mentioned. 

To keep away from the penalty, enterprise homeowners can supply the police a bribe. 

A restaurant proprietor within the Kyo-dong neighborhood bought out of getting to close down attributable to a possible hearth hazard by serving the inspecting safety agent a bowl of dangogi-jang, an costly stew made with canine meat, and 100,000 received ($12) in money, she mentioned.

“The general public is on the verge of explosion attributable to their excessive dissatisfaction with the safety brokers who viciously extort residents to fill their pockets,” she mentioned.

Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee. Written in English by Eugene Whong.



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