Where the KPA really aims its gunfire

Friday 12th June, 2015

Soldiers in the North Korean military are most likely pointing guns at one another or themselves, and not at the enemy, according to a former captain of the KPA.

North Korean law prohibits individuals from carrying personal firearms. However, the reality is that deaths resulting from gunfire is not infrequent. These incidents are most prevalent amongst the North Korean military.

North Korean exile Jin Gwang-Myung, 41, was a former captain from Division 620 of the Korean People’s Army. He testifies, “In North Korea, guns are considered to be inherently political instruments, and gun-related incidents are treated as serious political infringements. In the case that a single bullet goes missing, authorities will do whatever it takes in order to retrieve that bullet.

“Furthermore, the authorities cannot hold important official events, referred to as ‘No. 1 events’, at the region in which the bullet was lost. A No. 1 event is one that requires the presence of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un.  This is because there remains the slightest possibility that the missing bullet may be used at Kim Jong-Un, threatening his life. Thus North Korean authorities strictly control not only bullets, but also all individual components that make up a firearm.

“Even so, there have been incidents related to misuse of firearms, related to the constant psychological stress North Korean soldiers suffer from internal bullying, starvation and assaults. In August 2004, there was a major gunfire incident in the brigade at which I was stationed, that disbanded an entire military platoon. The perpetrator was an 18-year-old soldier who had been continually ostracized and bullied by officers for being clumsy. Losing hope in his aspirations and dreams, he must have turned to revenge as a final resort.

“When he was on weapons warehouse duty, he stole a No. 5.4 automatic gun (one of the latest North Korean-developed small guns) and three cartridges with 93 bullets, and made his way to the barracks. It was around 1AM. He fired all the bullets at a total of 22 soldiers, who were sound asleep. It was the biggest gunfire incident within the whole of KPA.

“A Commander-in-Chief order was issued in the name of Kim Jong Il, as a response to prevent bullying and assault against soldiers within the military. Gun-related incidents still happen, though the North Korean authorities work hard to conceal these facts from the public.”

Some within the military look forward to war. Why? Mr. Jin claims, “those who want war do so not because they hate the enemy but because they hate officers and want to destroy them.” It appears that the KPA’s greatest enemies may reside within the KPA itself.


Reporting by Lee, Chulmu.

Read in Korean.

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