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The new coronavirus regulations stipulated by Pyongyang have been imposed on the provinces of Sungho-ri and North Hwanghae. The North Korean authorities are now putting those who violate coronavirus quarantine rules into political prison camps. The North Korean Workers’ Party new policy is to label those who break quarantine rules as “special criminals” that are guilty of political crimes.
On Wednesday a Daily NK source from North Korea said the number of those labelled quarantine violators has been “greatly increasing”.
A new political prison camp was also opened in Hwachon to accommodate the new “special criminals”.
However, the source said that the new camp “isn’t big, and it is managed by the Ministry of Social Security”.
The Ministry of Social Security has created a place for these so-called violators, known as Camp 17.
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Camp 17 is located in Kaechon and there is also Camp 18 in Pukchang.
Both of these camps are in South Pyongan Province.
The facility may be similar in size to those two camps or slightly smaller.
The North Korean source said: “The authorities opened the facility in one of the coal mines where there used to be a worksite for the Hwachon Political Prison Camp.
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“They created the new camp by walling off the mine and using the existing buildings.”
There is also Camp 26, located in the Sungho district of Hwachon-dong, North Hwanghae Province.
This camp was closed down temporarily in 1991 after international human rights organisations claimed human rights abuses were actively taking place at the facility.
The facility was then given a new title, called the Sungho Disciplinary Labor Centre, and may be used as a camp for those who break quarantine rules.
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The North Korean source has said that serious human rights abuses are taking place within the camp.
The source said: “Having opened a new prison, the authorities make an example of newly arrived prisoners by making them run in teams of seven after finishing work in the mine.
“The excuse is to make them reflect on their crimes before the Fatherland.
“If you pass out while running, they make you run more 10 times the amount of time you were on the ground.
“In early December, six of 53 new prisoners died a day after entering the camp from cruel treatment.”
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