Slave to the Blog: The Police and Thieves Edition

February 27, 2015 6:15 AM

Junior Murvin reportedly was horrified when he first heard the Clash’s desecration of his song “Police and Thieves,” exclaiming something about the wrath of Jah. Then the royalty checks started rolling in. Today’s blog post addresses three confrontations with the law, followed of course by not one, but two (!), performance videos of “Police and Thieves.”

Sanctions evasion: AP has apparently obtained a leaked report by the UN Experts Panel describing the sanctions evasion tactics of North Korean state-owned Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMM). The company, owner of the Chong Chon Gang, the rust bucket found to be smuggling arms under tons of Cuban sugar, was sanctioned by the UN Security Council back in 2013. In response, the firm apparently renamed its vessels “effectively erasing” them from a database maintained by the International Maritime Organization. The panel text reportedly documents how these rechristened vessels continued to operate, transiting ports or doing business with individuals and entities in at least ten countries including Brazil, China, Egypt, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Russia, Singapore and Thailand which did not freeze them as recommended by the panel. To continue this game of Whack-a-Mole, the experts report reputedly advises “updating the sanctions list with 34 OMM entities and says all 14 vessels should be subject to sanctions.”

Reuters is also reporting that the panel report names agents of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), North Korea's main intelligence agency, who were seconded to international organizations such as UNESCO and the World Food Program and were using their positions to facilitate illegal financial transactions associated with sanctioned arms and missile deals. 

Porn Ring: Sadly, the sexual exploitation of women has been a continuing aspect of the North Korean refugee phenomenon. As Steph Haggard and I documented in our surveys, knowledge of or involvement in trafficking inflicts not only the obvious wounds, but does lasting psychological trauma as well. The entanglement of North Korean refugee women in various facets of the commercial sex trade has been documented in both China and South Korea. Rob Price at NK News via Business Insider reports that South Korean police recently busted a webcam broadcasting service on charges of “circulating pornography.” The site allegedly streamed sex acts performed by North Korean women forced into online pornography by defection brokers. Gangsters would threaten the women with deportation back to North Korean if they did not comply. The website operators allegedly made millions by charging users to watch the webcam feeds.

Onward from the non-consensual to the consensual:

Adultery: South Korea’s Constitutional Court has struck down the decades-old law which criminalizes adultery. On a 7-2 vote the court ruled that Article 241 of the criminal code amounted to an unconstitutional criminalization of personal liberty: “Maintaining marital relations and a family should be left to the free will and affections of people involved and it cannot be forced by a criminal law,” the court said in its ruling.  “Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives,” said justice Park Han-Chul of the country’s constitutional court in announcing the decision. The application of two-year imprisonment punishment will be invalid immediately. Although less than 100 people have served time on this charge since 2008, according to reporting by Lily Kuo, in the past 30 years, almost 53,000 people have been indicted, including 900 last year.

There were dissenting voices, however. Justice Ahn Chang-Ho has said the law’s abolition would “spark a surge in debauchery” and Kuo reports that shares in the Korean condom maker Unidus “soared 15% after the ruling was announced.” Well, at least the adulterers plan on  keeping it wrapped up. That won’t be any help for the birth rate which hit its second lowest level since the country started keeping statistics in 1970.

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Marcus Noland Senior Research Staff

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