Kim Jong-un betrayal: North Korea chaos as despot’s own spies ARRESTED

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The group – some of whom were moonlighting security officials – were detained as part of a country-wide operation aimed at cutting citizen’s unauthorised links with reality. The so-called “phone brokers” had been working to arrange calls and money transfers from other nations.

Some of those arrested included spies for Kim Jong-un, who were supposed to have been the “eyes and ears of the state” but had defied the despot and acted as phone brokers on the side, according to a source.

Sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA) authorities swooped on the group in Hyesan, a northern city on the border with China.

They were caught arranging contact and financial transactions between North Koreans and their relatives abroad.

Those willing to help their loved ones in Kim’s hermit kingdom are understood to be in China and South Korea.

A law enforcement official from the province of Ryanggang where the raid took place confirmed the raid.

The official said: “They were arrested on charges of contacting the outside world and using Chinese mobile phones, which are prohibited.

“I checked the list of people caught using Chinese mobile phones this month, as well as written documents on how they were arrested.”

The source suggested those whom the group had been trying to make contact with were North Koreans in exile.

Phone brokers in North Korea operate close to the border with China.

This is to enable them to tap into Chinese mobile networks.

In August Pyongyang started a nationwide crackdown to cut contact with the outside world.

Additional personnel were sent to border regions near China to back up special forces.

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The aim was to crack down on smuggling and to stop travel as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

On Wednesday North Korea said it had discovered “faults” in its anti-coronavirus measures.

The announcement on state media came after an outcry in South Korea over a citizen who North Korean soldiers killed near their maritime border where tight virus controls are in force.

Mr Kim offered a rare apology for the killing of the South Korean fisheries officer last week in waters off the west coast of the peninsula.

Pyongyang said its soldiers shot him because he tried to flee without revealing his identity.

The Government denied a South Korean assertion that they then set his body on fire.

They said only a floatation device he had used was burnt in the course of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

North Korea’s state media KCNA did not elaborate on the faults nor did it mention the killing of the South Korean man.

The news agency said: “The meeting stressed the need to strictly guard against self-complacency, carelessness, irresponsibility and slackness in the anti-epidemic field.

“It also called for successfully maintaining a steel-strong anti-epidemic system and order.”

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