North Korea is arresting soothsayers and the people who consult them in the aftermath of a flood that has been described by the state as the worst since World War II. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
SEOUL, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- North Korea is conducting purges of fortunetellers and others who engage in superstitious activity as the country continues to crack down on escapees.
People engaged in fortunetelling, an illegal activity, are the target of arrests because of their predictions of the state's future, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday.
Soothsayers have said in 2017 North Korea may wage a nuclear war, another natural disaster may strike the country, or a dormant volcano in Mount Paektu may erupt, according to the report.
Other fortunetellers are saying Kim Jong Un could conduct a massacre or some other "unimaginable event," a source in North Hamgyong Province told RFA.
Faced with tough choices in their impoverished country, more North Koreans, including senior officials, rely on soothsayers to identify important information for their future.
But as their influence grows, North Korean fortunetellers are being taken into state custody.
RFA's source said four soothsayers in the flood-hit region of Musan County in North Hamgyong Province were arrested for their practice, along with 40 North Koreans who then spread the fortunetellers' claims across their communities.
Sources in North Korea told Radio Free Asia more than 300 people were also recently arrested in flood-hit regions while they were attempting to flee the country.
Diarrheal disease and acute respiratory infections have been reported in disaster areas after massive flooding took place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.
North Korea has reported the floods are the worst since World War II and that hundreds of thousands of people have been forced out of their homes.
Kim Jong Un has yet to visit the disaster zone.