A young North Korean man conscripted to guard a customs post on his country's border with China in under arrest for shooting dead seven platoon members who had angered him with bullying treatment, RFA’s Korean Service has learned.
After the shootings at dawn on Jan. 7 at Hyesan, a city in North Korea’s northern Yanggang province, the young conscript was arrested and taken to Pyongyang, sources familiar with the shooting told RFA.
“The suspect and one platoon member who survived the shooting were transported to State Security headquarters in Pyongyang. There is no way to find out the exact cause of this incident, since the Yanggang authorities are trying to keep everyone’s mouth shut,” one source said on Jan. 14.
A second source, however, said the shooter apparently snapped after suffering bullying from his colleagues.
“The incident at the Hyesan customs office was caused by the frequent beatings suffered by the new conscripts at the hands of their superiors, and the one who committed the crime is a new conscript who graduated from high school last spring,” the source told RFA on Jan. 16.
North Korean authorities are trying to prevent the information from spreading to other parts of the country, the sources said.The names of the shooter and victims are not known.
No other information was immediately available about the shooting in Hyesan, a provincial administrative center of nearly 200,000 people that lies on the Yalu River, which forms North Korea’s border with China.
Reported by Sunghui Moon for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Max Kwak. Written in English by Paul Eckert.