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Bars, Karaoke Parlors Reopen in N.Korea

2019/11/10 Source

Karaoke rooms and other bars are reopening in North Korea as the regime reels from sanctions and is keen to tax any sort of private income.

Only last year these entertainment places were shut down as symbols of "capitalist decadence" and hives of "antisocial behavior".

"Pyongayng is seeing a reemergence of privately run karaoke parlors, bars and restaurants", a North Korea source said Sunday.

"To run a private business in Pyongyang, people need licenses from metropolitan and district officials, so hefty bribes and connections are involved".

Meanwhile, North Korea's two major security agencies, the State Security Department and Ministry of People's Security, are competing fiercely for the privilege of confiscating money sent back to the North by defectors.

A source said the State Security Department was impacted heavily by the purge of its chief Kim Won-hong and audits in 2016 and handed over powers to the Ministry of People's Security to crack down on illegal money transfers from defectors.

But on recent orders from leader Kim Jong-un, the department regained those powers, and inter-agency competition has intensified. 

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