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North Korea security agents are being purged, report says

By
Elizabeth Shim
Former North Korea state security chief Kim Won Hong may have been removed from office in January, and more security officials are under scrutiny following the purge. File Photo by KCNA
Former North Korea state security chief Kim Won Hong may have been removed from office in January, and more security officials are under scrutiny following the purge. File Photo by KCNA

March 24 (UPI) -- North Korean officers working in Pyongyang's state security agency keep disappearing, according to sources in the country.

The agents are under increased scrutiny following the purge of state security chief Kim Won Hong, Daily NK reported Friday.

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Security officials in Pyongyang and at the provincial levels are being summoned for interrogation, one source in South Pyongan Province told the South Korean news service.

In February, Seoul said Kim was first demoted to a one-star general, then fired, and eventually purged.

The officers being flagged for further inspection may have been loyal to the purged security chief.

Kim may have been removed on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Some officers are being dismissed and removed from office, creating a "warlike atmosphere" in the security agency, according to Daily NK's source.

"The state security department, which once exercised enormous power, is degenerating because of the central [Workers' Party]'s extreme vetting," the source said. "The vetting has been going on for about a month, but already some officers are being dismissed, and disappearing."

The source said the security chiefs of "province, city, county defense, political bureaus" have been summoned to Pyongyang.

Some of the deputy directors write notes of "self-criticism" then are dismissed without punishment. Some are being removed or being detained, the source added.

Daily NK's source said there is "a lot of talk" about many executives not surviving the purges.

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