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N. Korea bans overseas workers from accessing Internet

2017/03/08 11:17

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- The North Korean authorities recently issued an order banning overseas North Korean workers' access to the Internet in an apparent bid to prevent the spread of the news on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, among their local residents, a U.S. broadcaster said Wednesday.

"North Korea has ordered its overseas missions to forbid its workers dispatched abroad not to access the Internet via smartphones, with a warning of their recall and punishment when disobeying the order," Radio Free Asia said, citing a source in Vladivostok.

The order clarifies as follows: Do not access the Net, do not spread any kind of news, and a summons and severe punishment will be made when violating the order, the source said.

Officials at the missions were also prohibited from accessing the Internet, according to the source.

"Inspections of overseas laborers' smartphones have been randomly under way since the order was issued," the source said.

North Korean workers and officials purchase smartphones first when dispatched abroad as they, albeit expensive, enable them to quickly obtain the latest news, the source said.

Another source in Vladivostok also said officials at the North Korean missions recently assembled North Korea workers from many places to convey the instruction to them.

"The ban apparently has something to do with the rapid spread of the news on Kim's murder inside the North," the source said.