North Korean money lender sentenced to eight years in prison for ‘smearing’ image of socialism

An undated photo of Hyesan in Yanggang Province on the border between North Korea and China. (NK daily)

A loan shark in Yanggang province was recently taken to court after allegedly forcing a couple’s husband to live with her until their debt was repaid.

“While exploiting people’s economic difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic by lending them money at unreasonably high interest rates, a loan shark in Taehongdan County made the husband of an incompetent couple live with her. to repay their loan,” a source in Yanggang province said. told the Daily NK on March 4. “After her actions were discovered by authorities, the woman was taken to court publicly.”

According to the source, about 200 people, including officials from the provincial prosecutor’s office, provincial party committee, provincial people’s committee and Taehongdan County party committee, attended the trial on February 21.

In fact, a total of twelve people were tried on the same day. They were accused of lending money at high interest rates or perpetrating violence against borrowers who failed to repay their debts. According to the source, the case involving the pawnbroker was deemed the most serious by the judges.

The moneylender is in her 30s and was reportedly widowed at a young age. She had lent 2,000 RMB (316.82 USD) to a married couple she knew well. The couple make a living selling herbal medicine and the woman expected the loan to be repaid in six months.

However, when the couple failed to repay the loan on time, the lender pressured the couple to repay the money by selling their household items. This was not enough to repay the debt, so she forced the wife to write a contract saying, “I will renounce my husband if I do not repay the loan within ten days.”

The source revealed that the pawnbroker had been in love with the debt-ridden couple’s husband for several years. The woman told the pawnbroker, “It’s lucky you love my husband,” and allowed her husband to live with the woman until she could return all the money.

Soon, the inhabitants and even the chief of the inminban (popular unit) discovered the case. The Popular Unity leader reported the matter to members of the local Social Security Ministry, but ministry officials refused to take up the matter, calling it “a trivial matter”.

The head of popular unity then reported the matter to the provincial prosecutor’s office. Claiming that “dropping this case would lead to even more corrupt behavior that could tarnish the image of socialism,” the prosecutor’s office held the trial open, forcing Taehongdan County residents and even provincial government officials to attend. to participate.

The woman at the center of the case was sentenced to eight years in a correctional facility in Hamhung. Others tried on the same day were punished with imprisonment in forced labor camps, the source added.

Translated by Youngheon Kim

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