Speaking to online newspaper Daily NK on July 29, a source in Yanggang Province said: “Although the authorities have taken strong measures to close the border due to the virus, smuggling and border crossing attempts continue. “The installation of extra wire fencing to crack down on such behaviour has been ongoing since the beginning of July.”
North Korea closed the Sino-North Korean border in January in order to avoid a coronavirus outbreak.
Authorities have been carrying out stricter crackdowns on what they understand as “illegal behaviour.”
Despite the harsh measures, smuggling and other illegal actions are still present in the border region.
The authorities seem to have started putting up new metal fencing in regions that struggle with smuggling and “river crossings”.
However, Daily NK’s source mentioned that the new fencing is greatly insufficient to effectively eradicate illegal activity.
The source said: “The authorities have ordered the military to eliminate smuggling, but there are too many places where people can secretly receive illegal goods.
“There is no way that installing wire fencing can completely stop smuggling or river border crossings.”
According to the source, residents based near the border with China cross the border in order to smuggle items.
Footage obtained by Daily NK revealed that the fencing was so thin that it “swayed in the wind.”
The soldiers erecting it had no issue manipulating the material, perhaps due to the lack of barbs.
The North Korean soldiers building the fence in the footage seemed to be using “unsuitable” materials.
Daily NK’s source indicated that the move may just be “for show” and intended to “follow orders” rather than actually stop crime.