Even in the top ranks of North Korean society, there are some who spit on the dictatorship and the hereditary politics of the Kim family — case in point, the incident of Mr. Lee.
A North Korean defector, now living in the South, recalls, “While I was serving a 10-year prison term in North Korea, Mr. Lee gave my son money to get some food for me.
“Sad to say, Mr. Lee, who worked at Ryanggang province’s Ministry of State Security, later shot himself with his own gun, allegedly after being harassed for helping would-be defectors.
“One may consider suicide as merely a cowardly evasion of one’s responsibility, but in North Korea it is considered an act of rebellion and thus the person’s bereaved family is punished severely. His son who was working in the Bodyguard Bureau in Pyongyang was subsequently discharged, leaving the family with no way to support themselves.
“Given Mr. Lee’s rank in the Ministry of State Security, a very authoritative institution, and the fact that he committed such ‘treacherous behavior’ against the government shook all of Ryanggang province, as well as throughout the entire country.”
[Written by Tae-il Shim, the pseudonym of a North Korean defector who arrived in South Korea in 2018.]