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ICC Note:

The North Korean government added five extra clauses to the country’s criminal code to control the communication with the outside world, showing the regime’s anxiety at the cross-border activities. It happened after the government publicly blamed Christian missionaries reaching North Koreans near the border in China.

05/22/2014 North Korea (DailyNK)- The North Korean authorities recently added five extra clauses to Article 60 of the country’s criminal code, which pertains to attempts to overthrow the state. The additional clauses codify harsh punishments for acts including illicit communication with the outside world, which could in principle now incur the death penalty.

A source based in North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on the 20th, “A directive notifying us that the criminal code had changed was conveyed via workplaces earlier in the year. They said that five new clauses have been added to Article 60, and that punishments for each were similar or worse that they had been.”

The newly re-codified offenses include: ▲ Illegal phone contact with foreigners, including South Koreans; ▲ Viewing South Korean dramas or DVDs and listening to [foreign] radio broadcasts; ▲ Using or dealing in drugs; ▲ Transnational human and sex trafficking; and ▲ Aiding and abetting defectors and leaking state secrets.

In criminal code revisions made in mid-May of last year, harsh punishments were decreed for a loose basket of acts deemed to be seditious, including political agitation, rioting, and public demonstration. Sedition was one of a litany of charges thrown at Kim Jong Eun’s uncle Jang Song Taek before his execution in December last year.

The nature of the revised punishments provides a stark reflection of the regime’s anxiety at the nature and scale of cross-border activities, the source explained. A minimum of five years “reeducation” or the death penalty can be decreed for those caught communicating with the outside world, a minimum of ten years reeducation is the maximum punishment for simply watching South Korean media or listening to foreign radio, and a minimum of five years reeducation is possible for drug smuggling.

“These days they’re working to arrest people calling the South by tapping their phones,” the source pointed out. “People do somehow doubt that they’d really execute somebody for calling South Korea, but everyone is still uncomfortable because there is the possibility of being made an example of. Investigations have increased along the border this year, and some people have already been sent off for reeducation as the result of the new amendments.”

Furthermore, “People who speak to the South have to recognize they are now risking their lives. At the time of Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16th, even people who had traded with China took apart their phones and hid them away; it was that bad.”

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