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Kim Jong-un humiliated as desperate North Koreans ignore shoot on site orders within days

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The measure was announced on August 27 in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. North Korean troops were instructed to shoot anyone who went within one kilometer (0.6miles) of the border according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

The order applies across all four North Korean provinces which border China.

Whilst the border has formally been closed since January due to the pandemic there are reports widespread smuggling has continued.

North Korea’s fragile economy is heavily dependent on goods smuggled over the Chinese border.

Since Kim’s announcement North Korean troops have been sent to “assist” border guards in preventing crossings.

However according to RFA the real purpose for their deployment is to prevent soldiers stationed on the border taking bribes from smugglers.

North Korea has yet to officially report any cases of COVID-19.

However back in July Kim admitted the deadly infection “could have entered” the country.

In mid-August a 25-year-old North Korean platoon leader was reportedly arrested on suspicion of smuggling.

READ MORE: North Korea crisis: Panicked Kim Jong-un goes ‘into hiding’ 

The soldiers fate is not known but he is expected to face “severe punishment”.

Kim Jong-un was reported to be furious when a refugee, who had previously fled North Korea, returned without being detected in mid-July.

In response the military unit responsible for the border area he crossed was disbanded.

Last month seven North Koreans were arrested for alleged smuggling in Hyesan City.

However, talking to RFA a local said: “They avoided execution but were sent to political prison camps because they had smuggled during the highest level of the emergency quarantine system.

“However, when their lives became too difficult, they jumped back into smuggling and were caught.

“They were sentenced to life in prison, and their families were sent into internal exile in the mountain areas.

“Residents are protesting their punishment, though, saying that death would be better than life in a prison camp, and that the harsh reality of having trouble finding daily food is the reason for the smuggling on the border.”

In July the North Korean city of Kaesong was put into lockdown for three months after a resident reported COVID-19 like symptoms.

Additional travel restrictions were also imposed inside North Korea during this time.



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