Liberty Korea Post learned through its sources that the Workers’ Party of [North] Korea is investigating high ranking army officers.
The investigation was spurred by the sudden increase of complaints regarding corruption cases perpetrated by the families of the high ranking army officers.
The complaints involve the daily occurrence of corrupt practices that are prevalent within the army, as well as the actions that represent anti-socialist behavior hated by the authorities.
One of the appalling acts is that family members of the high ranking officers belonging to the 2nd Army ride taxi cabs to travel on the freeway between Pyongyang and Wonsan, costing 2,000 Yuan (about U$ 280).
The question is, how can they afford such a high cab fare?
The monthly salary for upper echelon officers average about 9,500 KPW (U$10.50), enough to buy 2 kilos (4.4 pounds) of rice at the jangmadang.
So, the wives of the officers have started to produce tofu and liquor out of their homes and sell them to the troops under their husbands’ command. The troops use the money they receive from their respective families.
This commercial arrangement is reminiscent of the way teachers made their living during the arduous march in the 1990s when the parents of their students bought products from the teachers. The military wives are using a similar formula to start their businesses utilizing the captive audience.
In many cases, military bases are located some distance away from villages and shops, and the wives and the troops alike have had to walk several kilometers to buy a piece of tofu. With their own jangmadang inside the base, they can save the walks while making money to boot, killing two birds with one stone. They have justified their actions by saying, “The whole country is doing jangmadang, and there is no reason why we can’t do it just because we were wives of officers.”
However, they are violating military regulations. As for the lower rank personnel, they cannot sneak liquor by themselves during duty. The upper ranks would be committing a severe infraction if they engaged in a drinking session after hours.
The KPA’s (Korean People’s Army) military protocols have been deteriorating, and the latest foray into commercial entrepreneurship by the army wives have raised red flags everywhere. Just a few years ago, the families of the officers were required to live outside the base.
Concerned about the corrupt practice among the military rank and file, the WKP cadres are conducting investigations. They will find that the army wives have no choice but to engage in commerce in order to survive on their own since there is no support from the KPA.