Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hungry N. Korea soldiers steal from civilians: report

North Korea has stepped up a crackdown on soldiers in a northeastern city who are stealing from locals because they cannot survive on their food rations, a report said Wednesday.

Military police have been stationed everywhere in the streets of Hyesan city to check the identification of soldiers, said the Daily NK, a Seoul-based online newspaper run by defectors.

North Korean soldiers are supposed to receive about 800 grams (28 ounces) of food per day in rations but this has shrunk to about 540 grams, it said.

"They are hungry and... they are heading for local farms to steal (food)," Daily NK said, citing a source in Hyesan.

"The weather is getting colder and the number of soldiers deserting their posts is rising."

Since June a military driver training school in Hyesan has handed out only about 170 grams of food. Hungry soldiers have also been stealing clothes, shoes and other items from homes in broad daylight to sell in the market, it said.

The North has a Songun (army first) policy which prioritises military welfare. But there have been several reports that soldiers are suffering from food shortages along with civilians. more