Top 10 Secrets North Korea Hides Behind Its Borders

10) Public executions

A South Korean report estimates that between the year 2000 and 2013 North Korea carried out 1,400 public executions. These were for offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies, or porn. In an attempt to keep North Koreans in line,
citizens are forced into stadiums to watch mass executions by firing squad. Since taking power in December 2011, leader
Kim Jong-un has executed 70 high-ranking officials, including his uncle by marriage Jang Song
Thaek. Jang’s nephew, O Sang-hon, was executed by being burned alive with a flamethrower.
Sources: Telegraph/The Guardian

9) Three Generations of Punishments

Political prisoners that are sent to Kaechon detention camp are sentenced to three generations of punishment. This policy of ‘guilty by association’ means that unredeemable prisoners are sent to the camp with their entire family, and
any subsequent family members born in the camp are also imprisoned until death. North Korean escapee Mr Shin Dong-hyuk
was born into the camp after his parents met in the prison. He has described how as a prisoner he had been indoctrinated to internalize guilt by family association. He never questioned why he was imprisoned. Rather, he came to accept that he was born a criminal and would die a criminal, as that was his fate.
Sources: The Guardian

8) Weapons of Mass Destruction

In 2015 the US government admitted that North Korea has the capability to launch a nuclear weapon against America. A recent report by China’s top nuclear experts has estimated that North Korea could already have 20 nuclear warheads, and may have up
to 40 by 2017. The global threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities isn’t just limited to their own supplies, either. A UN sanctions committee has reported that North Korea smuggles nuclear and ballistic missile technology internationally, to countries including Syria and Iran.
Sources: Washington Post/The Times/The Guardian

7) Slave Labor

There’s an estimated 65,000 North Koreans working in 40 countries across the world. This includes Qatar, where they are building sites and stadiums for the 2022 world cup. Although the average worker may earn up to $800 a month, this money is paid directly to the North Korean state, with the workers themselves receiving just 10% of their salary. A 2012 report from a human rights group estimated that North Korea is raking up to $2.3 billion a year from this scheme. Because of their negligible pay, Anti-Slavery International director, Aidan McQuade, has stated that the North Korean laborers are
working in Qatar as a modern form of slavery.
Sources: CNN/The Guardian/The Independent

6) Cyber Warfare

North Korea’s military includes a sophisticated cyber-warfare cell made up of 6,000 troops, and they have vowed to wage cyber-war against the United States to ‘hasten its ruin’. The hackers are handpicked from North Korean universities and sent to China to be trained by Chinese and Russian experts. Over the last ten years, North Korean hackers have been connected to dozens of cyber-attacks, particularly targeted against their neighbors South Korea. In 2011 they managed to shut down 40 South Korean websites, including their National Intelligence Services.
Sources: Telegraph/ib Times/Newsweek

5) Biological/chemical weapons

In early 2015 South Korean intelligence suggested that North Korea might be planning a biochemical attack. The United States estimates that North Korea has up to 5,000 tons of chemical weaponry. This would be enough to take out South Korea’s
population of 50 million people. North Korea is also thought to produce at least 20 different types of chemicals for use in weapons. This includes the fatal disease anthrax, the poisonous gas hydrogen cyanide, and a range of highly lethal nerve agents. A 2014 report by North Korea analysis website 38 North, has determined that North Korea has also provided chemical weapons to Syria, Egypt, Iran and Libya in the last two decades.
Sources: Telegraph/Independent/Global Security/CNN

4) Human Trafficking

Tens of thousands of North Korean women and girls are thought to have been trafficked into China and forced into marriage and prostitution. Networks of traffickers operate along both sides of North Korea’s border with China. They lure women across the border with job offers, or by claiming that they can help them escape. In reality the women are drugged, kidnapped, and sold for around $2,000. North Korean defector Ji Hyunah told the United Nations that her failed attempt to escape North Korea saw her trafficked and sold to a Chinese man as his wife. Discovered by the Chinese authorities, Hyunah
was repatriated back to Korea and sentenced to time in a detention center. When it was discovered that she was pregnant by her former owner, she was forced to endure an abortion without anesthetic.
Sources: Telegraph

3) Human Experimentation

In 2004, escaped North Korean scientist Dr. Kim revealed that while working for the state, he used chemical and biological weapons on prisoners. This was in an attempt to determine how much gas would be needed to annihilate the South Korean city of Seoul. Former head of security at Camp 22, Kwon Hyok, has given details of the prison’s gas chambers. Whole families were suffocated to death there, purely for experimental purposes. And former political prisoner Lee Soon-ok described witnessing a fatal experiment, in which 50 healthy female prisoners were fed poisoned cabbage leaves. Within 20 minutes, the prisoners were vomiting blood and bleeding from their anuses.
Sources: BBC

2) Concentration Camps

A UN inquiry has found that an estimated 120,000 people are being held in the country’s harshest political prisons. Crimes against humanity are part of the daily routine there. Hoeryong concentration camp is the largest maximum-security area in the country, and prisoners are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and torture, leaving them crippled. North Korean defector, Jeong Kwang-il, described his experience in the camp. He said that there are two legal ways to kill prisoners. The first is to beat them to death; the other is to starve them.
Sources: The Guardian

1) Cannibalism

In 2013, newspaper Asia Press reported that a North Korean man had been executed by firing squad, after it was discovered that he had killed his two children for meat. The report detailed that a ‘hidden famine’ in the province Hwanghae had killed over 10,000 people, causing fears of cannibalism to spread across the country. In 2001 an ex-North Korean official, who had defected, told Asia Press that he had heard of more than a dozen cases of cannibalism in the North. He even referred to a story in which “a man in a local village went mad with hunger and boiled his own child”. Other reports detail corpses being dug up by famished villagers in desperation for meat.
Sources: Express/Independent/Washington Post/NY Daily News

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