PYONGYANG, North Korea, June 22 (UPI) -- North Korea has imported large quantities of Chinese riot gear, apparently to put down uprisings similar to those in Arab nations, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
Separately, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker, quoting the country's spy chief, said Wednesday various policy blunders have hurt North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's leadership and affected the prospects of his heir apparent son, Kim Jong Un, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Citing a source it did not identify, the Chosun Ilbo said the North's riot gear imports included tear gas, shields and helmets from China. The Communist country also is trying to get bulletproof vests and barricade materials.
"The regime seems to be very afraid of popular riots after the botched currency reform and the Arab Spring," a South Korean security official told the newspaper.
The currency reform of 2009 backfired, causing inflation to soar and worsening food shortages in the impoverished country, the Yonhap report said.
Kim's regime also has sharply cut its plans to build 100,000 houses by next year, when the country observes the birth centennial of Kim Il Sung, father of the leader and the country's founder.
Kim's "leadership has been undermined as he failed in the currency reform and built only 500 houses, though he planned to build 100,000," ruling party lawmaker Hwang Jin-ha was quoted as saying.