Crime does pay for North Korea

A state department investigation claims that North Korea runs a MASSIVE criminal enterprise which is at the heart of the North Korean economy.

North Korea has become a gangster nation, pocketing $700 million to $1 billion a year from counterfeiting of U.S. greenbacks, trafficking in illicit narcotics, smuggling contraband smokes and even peddling knockoff Viagra, according to U.S. estimates.
“North Korea is the only government in the world today that can be identified as being actively involved in directing crime as a central part of its national economic strategy and foreign policy,â€? says David Asher, a former State Department adviser on Asia.
Pyongyang’s global criminal cabal — including Chinese gangs, Russian mafia, Japanese yakuza and an IRA politico — produces a tidy little slush fund for “Dear Leaderâ€? Kim Jong Il, which shamefully equals the country’s legitimate export income.
Pyongyang’s infamous Bureau No. 39 runs the crime-for-profit scheme — including drug production, counterfeiting and smuggling — that uses state trading firms, embassy diplomatic pouches and commercial cargo.
The “payolaâ€? keeps Kim Jong Il flush in cognac and caviar, and buys loyalty from the military, security services and other elite. It also funds Pyongyang’s embassies and buys gear for its nuclear/ballistic missile programs.
The Congressional Research Service notes that since 1990, at least 50 drug seizures in over 20 countries have involved North Korean diplomats and trade officials. According to defectors, North Korea cultivates poppies on as much as 7,000 hectares. This makes North Korea the world’s No. 3 heroin producer behind Afghanistan and Burma. (Japan, Russia, China and Europe are the leading customers.) Japanese police also have traced as much as 40 percent of the methamphetamine seized in Japan in recent years to North Korean sources.
North Korea is also the first government known to produce “Monopoly moneyâ€? since the Nazis. Indeed, it’s the world’s premier counterfeiter of U.S. currency, especially the $100 bill. Known as the supernote, the Korean fake far surpasses the paper that comes out of Latin America and Eastern Europe. Since 1990, authorities have seized $45 million in supernotes.

Boston Herald – Crime does pay for North Korea