Central government officials oversee the affairs of the state security agency in the border region

A guard post at the China-North Korea border in Sakju County, North Pyongan Province. (NK daily)

Since the recent dispatch of inspectors to the China-North Korea border region, the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) of the Central Committee directly handles the investigations carried out by the local branches of the Ministry of National Security. state in the region.

According to a Daily NK source in North Hamgyong Province, OGD inspectors arrived at local branches of the Ministry of State Security in Hoeryong, Musan County, and other nearby areas. from the border in early April. They only recently revealed that they were officials attached to the Central Committee, he added.

The source said the inspectors were tasked with overseeing how local officers from the Ministry of State Security handle cases involving border closures in line with quarantine efforts, issues related to families of defectors in Korea. of the South, as well as repression against foreigners. -makes cell phones.

Inspectors also study how local security officers handle political crimes, such as people who file complaints against state policy and gossip.

The source said the inspectors plan to remain in the border region until the end of the year, overseeing everything involved with local investigations by the Department of State Security.

Normally, the Ministry of State Security headquarters in Pyongyang would carry out inspections on such matters as city and county level offices fall under its purview.

The source told Daily NK that the OGD sent inspectors instead because despite the Security Ministry’s own internal investigations, local agents still failed to properly enforce state policy, shut down the eyes during inspections and remain lax in the performance of their duties. general.

North Korean leaders view security officers along the border as “warriors” and “sentinels” guarding the country’s gateway. In reality, however, security guards often take bribes to look the other way when families of defectors call South Korea, or even to protect those arrested for spying.

The source said there have been many cases of corruption involving Ministry of State Security agents along the border, despite the government‘s very strong fight against corruption. He said while officers might appear to strictly enforce the law, they frequently took bribes to overlook violations committed by people using Chinese-made cellphones..

The source further reported that the inspectors were sent from Pyongyang after a growing number of residents sent petitions to the government over corruption among security officials.

Previously, many North Koreans could bribe their way out of trouble when local security officials transacted business without central government oversight, the source said.

This is now becoming more difficult to do because local officers report to inspectors and get their final approval on how to handle their cases, he added.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

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