first_img News A North Korean resident has recently been arrested for impersonating a Group 109 officer. Personnel in this unit are responsible for cracking down on the consumption of foreign media such as South Korean movies and televisions shows. The accused was allegedly extorting money from victims after entering their homes without a warrant and demanding money in exchange for not reporting their transgressions. The same tactic is frequently employed by Group 109.“A person posing as a Group 109 officer was going around South Pyongan Province demanding bribes from residents that he caught watching South Korean movies. He was recently arrested,” said an inside source from the region during a telephone call with Daily NK on December 8. “He wore the uniform of an Ministry of People’s Security officer (from which members are plucked for Group 109 along with other law enforcement bodies), and even carried a certificate with him as he conducted the fraudulent raids.” MPS and Ministry of State Security (MSS) uniforms can be purchased in South Pyongan Province markets for about US $30.    Asked why the resident chose to impersonate a member of the foreign media crackdown unit, the source explained, “It seems he saw an opportunity, as the unit has relatively more power and influence than other groups like the Group 6.27, (responsible for drug crackdowns).” According to the source, the impersonator colluded with a merchant who was renting out memory sticks containing South Korean movies. The merchant was informing the impersonator about who had recently bought the sticks, and he would then go directly to their homes. He managed to extort thousands of US dollars in bribes.As word got out about the crackdowns, the impersonator threatened the merchants. He told them to remain quiet, warning them of the consequences if people discovered they were in on the scheme. But the impersonator was not able to continue the scheme for long. After a resident from Pyongsong City handed the fake officer thousands of US dollars last September, he informed a friend and this led to the impersonator’s arrest. The friend was actually working as an informant on behalf of Group 109 and learned that nobody with the impersonator’s name was working for Group 109 in Pyongsong. After an extensive investigation, the impersonator was apprehended in November. Over the course of the investigation, the identity of the scheme’s victims who had watched South Korean movies also came to light, and these individuals were subsequently arrested. The impersonator served six months in a disciplinary labor center and was released on bail. He is reportedly at home recuperating. The relatively light punishment for impersonating an officer may have been due to the fact that his arrest led to the identification of numerous locals engaged in “anti-establishment” activity. “The way things are going here (in North Korea), fraudsters and colluders thrive. The families (caught up in the fraud) feel like the country is going under,” a separate source in South Pyongan Province said.South Korean media began to enter North Korea in large volumes around the year 2000, and in 2004, the authorities responded by establishing Group 109 combining personnel from the Party, the MSS, and the MPS to crackdown on consumption. But many residents have been able to bribe their way out of arrest, and so the central authorities have continued to ramp up the intensity of the crackdowns.  In particular, the authorities have been concerned about ideological agitation since UN sanctions began to have a wider impact from last year. Sources say that the authorities have strengthened attempts to block not just South Korean media consumption, but also content from the US, China, and other nations. Group 109 officers have been actively sending locals caught with such media to correctional labor camps and political prison camps.   “Because of the tense atmosphere, it has become harder to watch South Korean movies,” the second source said. “The authorities habitually enter homes without search warrants and commit violent acts against the residents. When donju [North Korea’s new monied class] are caught, they give bribes of anywhere from hundreds to thousands of US dollars.” SHARE Resident impersonates officer to extort foreign media consumers RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once again center_img News Proposal to shift “general markets” to “specialized markets” finds little support among N. Korean leaders NewsEconomy By Daily NK – 2017.12.13 11:33am North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) Facebook Twitterlast_img read more