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Sources say N. Korea reforms currency

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- North Korea, in an apparent effort to flush out hidden wealth and fight inflation, has begun using a new 10 won in place of the old 1,000 won, sources said.

The currency reform is the Communist country's first such move in 17 years, North Korean sources involved in trade with China told Yonhap news agency.

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The report said the government made the 100 to 1 change effective 11 a.m. Monday and began exchanging the old won for the new currency at 2 p.m.

"Many citizens in Pyongyang were taken aback and in confusion. Those who were worried about their hidden assets rushed to the black market to exchange them with (Chinese) yuan or U.S. dollars. The yuan and the dollar jumped," one source told Yonhap.

The North Korean won has plunged because of inflation. Many citizens also are reported to have stashed their money to avoid discovery by the government.

South Korean officials told Yonhap they could not confirm the move as there has been no official announcement from North Korea, which has reported such actions in the past.

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