North Korea’s state security department is wiretapping the homes of people whose family members defected. Residents have also found hidden wires on their bicycles.
A source in North Hamgyong Province told South Korean news service Daily NK that state surveillance of defectors’ families is growing to be a source of distress for people in the area.
“Because they do not know who installed the device, the families of defectors are under tremendous stress,” the source said, adding that when a person who is not a relative stops by, families are saying they need to inspect their homes for hidden bugs afterwards.
Local residents are also wary of unexpected visits by security agents and are refraining from speaking out loud on topics that may lead to questioning.
A source in South Pyongan Province said the state is bolstering propaganda about the regime, and making claims “all would be forgiven” if defectors return to the North. “But locals are not being fooled. They know ‘forgiveness’ is lip service and [returnees] would be under surveillance until they die.”