NORTH KOREA: HYESAN MAN EXECUTED AS EXAMPLE FOR REST
May 22, 2014: The death sentence has been imposed upon at least one person caught making phone contact with South Korea from a location near the Sino-North Korean border, Daily NK has learned via detailed, exclusive testimony from a source in the region.
âAt the beginning of this year they amended the criminal code,â the source reported to Daily NK on the 22nd. âThen, in Hyesan someone got executed as an example to the rest.â
According to the source, the execution came amidst an extensive campaign against cellphone users, smugglers, and people aiding and abetting defections, which began last year and has continued into 2014. The victim, a 49-year old stage lighting engineer called Ri Kyung Ho, was executed in March. His execution, though not public, was used as an example to others, and his family has been incarcerated in a State Security Department (SSD) facility.
âRi Kyung Ho was caught out of town by an SSD agent with a signal detector. Heâd been calling his family in South Chosunâ the source said, explaining the background to the manâs arrest. âHe probably didnât have time to take the phone apart and hide it before SSD agents got to his house.â
In the course of Riâs subsequent interrogation, it reportedly emerged that not only had he been making regular phone calls, but had also been involved in remittance transfers from South Korea and aiding and abetting defections.
âHe seems to have started by conveying money from defectors to their families, but then began to help people who asked him to send their families to China,â the source said. âSome people are asking why he was killed just because of the money thing, but there are a few who were close to him and his wife, and they say it was because he had been helping defections.â
âIn times gone by you could bribe your way out of this, but right now theyâre sure to punish you. Nobody knows when or why they might get caught up in it, so everyone is nervous,â she said. âAnyone who uses a cellphone to call âthat wayâ or âthe other wayâ [meaning South Korea or China] is scared.â
âThe rumor now is that Ri Kyung Hoâs elder brother Ri Song Ho, who is deputy head of a childrenâs film production team, and his younger brother Ri Chang Keun, who is a senior member of a state merited chorus ensemble, are facing punishment, too,â the source added. (Sources: dailynk.com, 22/05/2014)