SEOUL, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Security checks are being enhanced at North Korea immigration and strip searches are taking place at the border.
The measures are being enforced at the China-North Korea border, according to sources who spoke to Radio Free Asia on the condition of anonymity.
One Pyongyang-based source who trades bags of goods across the border said the security screening is “excessive.”
“When you leave North Korea for China, even if you don’t have much luggage, because the body searches are so extreme it takes three to five hours,” the source said.
At a checkpoint in the North Korean border city of Sinuiju, even when small metallic objects like hairpins are taken off, if the metal detector goes off, North Koreans are ordered to strip down for a full body search.
The inspections continue if the detector continues to sound an alarm, the source said.
Guards sometimes ask whether the person undergoing inspection had “swallowed a lump of gold.” Many experience a sense of humiliation, the source said.
The report comes at a time when Kim Jong Un has stepped up stricter controls at the border.
But restrictive measures have not deterred North Koreans from leaving the country for economic reasons and the number of North Korean defectors resettling in the South has increased since 2015.
More North Koreans are trying to leave the country because the Kim regime is cracking down on the emerging capitalist class, according to RFA.
A source in North Hamgyong Province said the state is targeting unofficial markets and curtailing their activities.
The policy is fueling the willingness of North Koreans working overseas to not return to the country, according to the source.