North Korea Transnational Crime
Agenda • Narcotics • TIP (Trafficking In Persons) • Counterfeiting US Dollars
Narcodics • What: • “Bingdu” (aka meth or ice). • Cheap to make and hard to trace • Defectors have reported that ¼ - ½ of the population is using due to the fact that the people are using it as a replacement for medicine • Where: • NE China is primary • Chinese gov avoids acknowledgement of problem, as it would touch on “the good relationship” and refers to any trafficking from N Korea as from an “unidentified overseas country”. • Japan, S Korea, Australia • Who: • State Sponsored or just run-of-the-mill drug dealers? • Gov officials have been arrested for smuggling drugs • Why: • Assist in gov financing of nuclear program • Easy money • To what extent: • Are there serious behind-the-scenes discussions or cooperative moves going on between the two governments, or does Beijing ignore the issue so as to not antagonize the North Koreans? Though meth may not be the primary issue in the Sino-DPRK relationship, can China truly afford the added headache of dealing with a rising tide of drug addicts as it tries to maintain economic momentum and social stability?
Trafficking In Persons • What: • Forced labor, at home and abroad • Sex trafficking • Where: • Recruited laborers to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments, including in Russia; Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, East and Southeast Asia, including especially Mongolia, and the Middle East. • Workers' salaries are deposited into accounts controlled by the North Korean government, which keeps most of the money, claiming fees for various "voluntary" contributions to government endeavors. • Researchers estimate that thousands of undocumented North Koreans currently live in northeast China, and as many as 70 percent of them are women. There is no reliable information on how many of these North Koreans have been trafficked, but their status in China as illegal economic migrants who may be deported to North Korea makes them particularly vulnerable to trafficking. • Trafficking networks of Korean-Chinese and North Koreans (usually men) operate along the China-North Korea border, reportedly working with border guards from both countries to recruit women for marriage or prostitution in China. North Korean women often pass through many hands, with multiple brokers involved in their trafficking.
Trafficking In Persons • Who: • State Sponsored, part of an established system of political repression • The government contributed to the human trafficking problem through its ban on emigration, its failure to address its poor economic and food situation, and through its forced labor camps, where North Koreans live in conditions of servitude, receiving little food and little, if any, medical care. • Why: • Assist in gov financing of nuclear program
Counterfeiting US Dollars • Rough estimate: The North Korean government through “Office 39” (North Korean govt sponsored crime syndicate), had printed and circulated approximately 45-50 million US Dollars • Note: North Korea has also been accused of counterfeiting cigarettes, pharmaceuticals as well as other items by former National Intelligence Director (NIC) John Negroponte in testimony before Congress
North Korean Govt Counterfeit • Infuse into market: Sundry methods are used to infuse the counterfeit $100 (Supernote) and $50 dollar notes into the world economy: • Diplomats and N Korean business executives have been caught and charged with bringing large amounts of money into banks supportive of North Korea: Bank of China, Banco Delta Asia, and Seng Hung Bank • Many businesses use illicit currency freely in South and North Korea • Smuggling contraband into many nations • North Korean Agents in USA spend freely
Counterfeiting US Dollars • Act of War? • US dollars made by Bureau of Engraving and Printing • Direct attack on US National Asset • Undermines US currency and damages economy • Began counterfeiting US dollars in late 1980s • Violation of USA Patriot Act section 311 • USA and other countries will not conduct business with North Korean organizations • Partnership strains: South Korea will not confront North Korea, détente is centerpiece of interaction
Action to Combat Counterfeiting • The Issue of counterfeiting is surfaced at the “6 Party Talks” as a part of PSI (Proliferation Security Incentive), ref.: Nuclear issue engagements • USA has two-prong approach to address problem: 1. Law Enforcement (approximately 70 arrests have been made) and 2. Political pressure • International community see North Korea as a “Criminal State” Note: does not seem to affect DPRK