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Tuesday, June 28, 2011     GET REAL

N. Korean police manual documents deepening, extreme social unrest

By Lee Jong-Heon, special from

A document believed to be a North Korean police report details rampant corruption, narcotics trafficking, cannibalism, burglary and theft of state properties and other illegal activities.


The disturbing incidents, many caused by hunger, spurred the regime to create a special police squad and import large shipments of riot gear.

According to a 791-page report issued in June 2009 by the North's police agency of the Ministry of Public Security, corruption is rampant among party, government and military officials who were robbing civilians and taking bribes.

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The "manual for workers in law enforcement" was obtained by South Korea's Caleb Mission, a Christian organization which has staged human rights activities for North Korea.

The Mission's source inside the North captured digital photos of each page, listing a total of 721 criminal cases in detail along with punishment guidelines for criminal activities.

"We could not get the manual because it is classified. Instead, we got it as a file of digital photos to protect our inside source," said Rev. Kim Sung-Eun who runs the Mission.

The police manual contained classified information covering three laws such as criminal law, civil law, and the criminal procedure law.

Its preface reads: "This manual is published for the first time and the listed examples are based on actual cases or probable circumstances." Many of the cases seem true as organizations, place names, figures and cases are specifically identified, Kim said.

The majority of the 721 crime cases involved food, with accounts of cutting off military communication lines and stealing public properties to exchange them for food. Another case involved a group of merchants attacking a police office in protest against crackdowns on market trading of rice and other grains.

In one account, a male guard, named Lee Man-Sung, who could not bear his hunger, killed his colleague using an ax, ate some of the human flesh and sold the remainder in the market by disguising it as mutton. Four more cases related to cannibalism.

There were cases that confirm the widespread use of U.S. dollars in the reclusive country. The U.S. dollar is circulating among civilians and being used for bribes. A medical staff received $800 from five men who wanted poor heath grades to avoid mandatory military service.

There were many cases of attempts to dodge the draft in the country whose 1.2 million-strong armed forces serve as the backbone of its leader Kim Jong-Il's "army-first" ideology.

The police manual also mentioned strong punishment of those possessing smuggled CDs containing South Korean films, a sign of South Korean culture's popularity inside the isolated country.

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