By Sarah Newton-John • 27 March 2023 • 10:52
Missing bullets causing lockdown in North Korea/Shutterstock Images
The dictator’s officials have searched house-to-house for the ammunition in the city which has a population of around 200,000 people, two sources told Radio Free Asia.
‘The city … will remain on lockdown until all 653 bullets are found,’ a resident of the northern province of Ryanggang, where Hyesan is located, told RFA’s Korean Service on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The assault rifle ammunition was discovered missing on March 7, when soldiers with the Korean People’s Army 7th Corp were pulling back from the area surrounding the city, which lies on the border with China.
The soldiers had been stationed there in 2020 to enforce the border closure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘They withdrew completely between February 25 and March 10, but an extensive investigation is underway because of a loss of bullets during the evacuation process,’ the Ryanggang resident said.
When it happened, the soldiers did not initially report it but tried to find the missing bullets themselves, according to the source. ‘But when the missing bullets could not be found, they notified the residents and began a rigorous search,’ he said.
The police and military began investigating, sealed off the city, and are searching house to house, the source said.
‘Those who have seen or picked up any number of bullets are required to report them as soon as possible.’
Those who fail to report any bullets they found could be punished, the source said.
‘There have been no clues even after 10 days have passed since this investigation began,’ the source said.
‘The Ministry of State Security, the Military Security Command of the Korean People’s Army, and the Ministry of Social Security issued a particularly stern warning against ‘Plunder, Illegal Possession or Disposal of Weapons, Ammunition and Combat Technology Equipment’ as stipulated in the criminal law Article 78,’ the official said.
‘According to that law, a person who illegally possesses or transfers firearms, ammunition, or weapons shall be punished by reform through labour for more than three years,’ he said.
Residents are concerned that if there is no discovery of the ammunition then the authorities will randomly punish someone who might be completely innocent, the official said.
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