A press report said North Korea has publicly executed at least 10 people caught using Chinese mobile phone networks to communicate with the outside world.
The story began after a crackdown involving clandestine surveillance in March resulted in the arrest of about 150 people in four provinces on the border with China in just three weeks.
The report stated that many of those arrested are sent to political indoctrination centers as punishment, and a source said: “The detention center is full of people like a rabbit cage, people sit next to the toilet, and family visits are refused.”
One source also claimed that 10 people – five in Taehongdan County in Ryangjang and five in North Hamgyong Province – were publicly executed as a hideous deterrent and about 20 other people who came to a public trial had escaped the death penalty.
The report said that the campaign is expected to continue until the end of October this year, when the construction of high concrete walls and high-voltage wires will be completed in an attempt to fortify the borders.
Kim Jong Un is blocking North Koreans from accessing mobile phone networks from neighboring China to prevent them from talking to defectors and accessing outside information beyond his regime’s control.
With tight local network restrictions in place, North Koreans pay for smuggled phones and SIM cards to call family and friends or get help from the outside world.
The responsibility for detecting telephone signals and bugging devices and arresting users of illegal mobile phone networks rests with state security.