Kim Jong Un has instructed state security agents to crack down on North Koreans using Chinese mobile phones to call South Korea, according to a source. File Photo by KCNA
SEOUL, May 27 (UPI) -- North Korea could be tightening restrictions on mobile phone communications with the outside world.
A source in North Hamgyong Province told South Korean news service Daily NK that Kim Jong Un has instructed security agents to charge North Koreans with treason if they are found using phones to call South Korea.
The ordinance is part of the state's effort to block information of the outside world and prevent North Koreans from leaving the country, the source said.
"The instructions say anyone who uses Chinese mobile phones to collude with the South Korean puppets is to be charged with treason for attempting to overthrow the government," the source said.
Those caught making or receiving phone calls from the South can even be executed.
"It's literally a bloody atmosphere," the source said regarding the 24-hour surveillance of locals.
The report follows a recent incident in which North Korea's State Security Department searched for and confiscated a private ledger that includes a list of North Korean defectors in the South.
A North Korean remittances broker left behind the book of records after he had to flee the country suddenly.
The crackdown on communications with the outside world also means it's getting harder for North Koreans to bribe their way out of a difficult situation.
"In the past, if you were caught [for phone use] you'd be released after paying a bribe between $760-1,500 to the authorities, but now paying a bribe between $4,600-6,000 doesn't guarantee your release," the source said.
Phones and broadcasts from the outside world have been infiltrating North Korea, South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported.
Gen. Walter Sharp, the former commander of U.S. Forces Korea, had said earlier this week more information going into the country could lead to changes in the regime, and increases the possibility of regime collapse.