N.Korean Regime Declares War on Gangsters

The North Korean regime has found a new internal enemy in the form of organized crime.

A source on Wednesday said there has been a marked rise in violence and misconduct from gang members in North Korea.

"Gangs not only fight each other but extort money from traders and operate prostitution rings and deal drugs by conspiring with state security agents," the source added.

The source said some North Koreans are inspired to become gangsters by watching South Korean movies that glorify such characters, and gangs are organized "just like in the movies."

Private martial arts gyms apparently teach aspiring gangsters to fight.

The source said dozens of gangs operate in major North Korean cities.

Early this year, 400-500 gang members got into a street fight in Hamheung, Hamgyong Province, using knives, bludgeons, shovels and nunchucks.

"Some gangs have been broken up since Kim Jong-un stepped into power because a crackdown resulted in their bosses getting life sentences," the source said.

englishnews@chosun.com / Sep. 01, 2014 07:25 KST