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N. Korea cracking down on drifters

2016/11/07 15:40

SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- The North Korean authorities have issued an order for all wandering people with no fixed residence to settle down and register a residence by the end of the year, a U.S. broadcaster, monitored here, said Monday.

"In early October, (the central government) made the instruction to have unregistered residents hiding along the coast or deep in the mountains register their residence," Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing a source in the North's South Hamkyong Province.

To that end, agents have been dispatched to the areas to root out pariahs, the source said, adding that the agents are from the local Workers' Party, security and police.

However, itinerant people are desperately trying to avoid registration, even bribing the agents, the broadcaster said, citing another source in North Hamkyong Province.

The source said there was a noticeable increase of late in the number of unregistered residents in the cities of Hoeryong and Sonbong in the province.

Some of the drifters are victims of the worst-ever floods that hit the North's northern provinces in early September, the sources said, adding that they left their villages and have now become roamers deep in the mountains.

Five to 10 households of such people live together in certain places, the source said.

"They are strongly refusing to register, as their drifter status enables them to avoid the authorities' forced work or support activities," the source said.

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