Sunday, June 01, 2008

`Shoot-on-sight' orders given to North Korean border patrols

Helping Hands Korea claimed it has been receiving reports of "shoot-on-sight'' orders given to North Korean border patrols regarding refugees. It reported eyewitness accounts of "snipers'' being posted at elevated border stations along the Tumen River.

Police officials in border regions, Helping Hands Korea said, are also being authorized to give "substantial bribes'' to local ethnic Korean-Chinese to make them disclose the whereabouts of North Koreans hiding in their neighborhoods. These bribes have reportedly been increasing in recent months.

Helping Hands said the border tightening has resulted in some reduction in successful crossings of North Koreans into China, with some 30 percent of refugees being caught and sent back to the North.

The group also said there have been widespread reports at border areas confirming that food shortages are now critical in the central part of North Korea. The group's observation is among one of many reports in recent weeks about food shortages in the North. The average North Korean's monthly salary is worth roughly three kilograms of rice, a couple of days supply for a family of four.

[Excerpt of an article by Michael Ha, The Korea Times]

No comments: