2011 research on conditions of North Korean defectors, a survey conducted by Free the NK Gulag (NK Gulag) organization, revealed that North Korean prisoners often buy their way out from labor camps, temporary detention camps, and security police jails, or at least have their sentences reduced for the right amount of money.
Kim Young-il (alias,) for instance, was sentenced to 15 years at Jongeori labor camp; however, his family bribed the director of the hospital within the camp with 300,000 Won(DPRK,) reducing his sentence to 2 years and 2 months. Kim said, “If I have personal connections with police officers or have enough money on hand, I can evade imprisonment even if I was seized crossing the border. This is North Korea. You could be on the verge of execution by the firing squad, but if you have the money, you can walk away.”
Kim Jong-ran (alias,) bought her way out of a labor camp while she was at Shinuiju provincial temporary detention camp. She said, "I paid 700 Yuan to a secretary, and when a police officer came one month later, I bribed him with 200 Yuan. I asked them to take care of me and they did."
Kim Jini (alias) also claimed that because her family had bribed the officers, she was considerably less abused than her other inmates.
The survey reveals that Korean-Chinese arrested and paying their way to freedom are becoming more widespread.
Lee Hyun-soo (alias) said that he witnessed security guards arresting Korean-Chinese and openly demanding money for their freedom. “If you have the money, you can live”, they were heard being said. He also said that "Security guards would run errands for Korean-Chinese prisoners for money. Such irreguralities are commonplace in detention camps.
In detention camps throughout the North, money and personal connections dictate the order of the day. There is 'one law for the rich and another for the poor.' Lawlessness and bribing is becoming everyday occurrence in today's North Korea.
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