There have been numerous speculations and allegations regarding the reality of North Korean regime through multiple reports, especially defector’s testimonies, but none have been fully verified. However, a leaked official police manual published by the North Korean government officially confirms actual inside stories of the reclusive nation.
Caleb Mission, a South Korean based Christian organization, released a North Korean confidential 791 page document, ‘manual for workers in law enforcement,’ which was published in June, 2009. An inside source captured digital photos of each page, listing a total of 721 cases in detail along with punishment guidelines.
The manual contained classified information covering three laws such as criminal law, civil law, and the criminal procedure law.
The manual’s foreword reads: ‘this manual is published for the first time and the listed examples are based on actual cases or probable circumstances’. Considering that actual organizations, place names, figures and cases are specifically listed, one may assume that a majority of cases in the manual are likely to be true.
“I have been studying North Korean laws for the last forty years and have never seen anything like this inner document of the North Korean law enforcement unit,” said Jang Myung-bong, a specialist in North Korean laws. “It is a very critical resource in which we can take a peek on important changes of North Korean law and vividly depict the real life within the society.”
The majority of the 721 crime cases were involving food. A case was reported that one cut off military communication lines in exchange of food. Another case involved a rebellious group of merchants, who were previously cracked down by the government office, attacking against regime officials.
Notably, five cases related to cannibalism were also included in the manual. Stories about starving North Koreans eating human flesh have been considered rumors, but recent discoveries in the manual may prove otherwise, triggering more speculations about the food shortage crisis in North Korea.
One case involved a guard named Lee Man-sung, who killed his roommate with an axe when he was sleeping, ate part of the corpse and then sold the rest on the market describing it as lamb meat.
There were cases that confirm the widespread use of U.S. dollars. A business school teacher admitted to corruption after taking a bribe of $5,000. In the past, only top government party leaders and traders owned U.S. dollars, but now the dollar is circulating among civilians and being used for bribes. The major reason why North Koreans are highly interested in dollars may be because of the fear that North Korean currency would be useless once the regime changes.
Cases also included individuals getting caught duplicating South Korean CD’s and DVD’s in their homes. The punishment for such a case is severe as the regime greatly fears of cultural influence from outside the nation. Once confirmed of this kind of crime, you would be either sentenced to public execution or sent to concentration camps.
The leak of the manual confirms that serious economic and food crisis are worse than ever in North Korea. Some of the unverified allegations so far, such as rebellions against the regime, wide spread South Korean culture penetration, and distribution of U.S. dollars, were unveiled through the manual.
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