January 22, 2013 09:36
North Korea has built a new compound believed to be a prison camp next to an existing one in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province, according to a U.S. satellite imagery expert.
"I noticed the addition of a new area that bears striking similarity to other known 'kwan-li-so' or prison camps," Curtis Melvin wrote on his blog North Korean Economy Watch on Friday. Going by Google Earth images, the compound was built sometime between Dec. 17, 2006 and Sept. 21, 2011.
"It is surrounded by a very visible security perimeter. It is also placed right next to Camp 14 -- even sharing 3 km of border," he added.
A government official here said Melvin's analysis appears sound. North Korea currently has six concentration camps where people are held for political reasons.
According to Melvin's analysis, the new gulag is surrounded by a 20 km security perimeter and has two checkpoints and six guard posts. Several buildings believed to be office and housing units are also distinguishable.
It sits just west of Camp 14, but it is unclear whether it is an extension of the existing camp or an entirely new camp, according to an intelligence official here.
"The new facility is about one tenth the size of Camp 14," said one informed source here. "Perhaps it is an expanded facility since Camp 14 became overcrowded."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com