Masked Bandits Steal Gold From North Korean Armored Vehicle

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Dec 11, 2022 - 02:20 PM

Authored by Lisa Blain and Angela Bright via The Epoch Times,

An armored vehicle carrying 200 kilograms of gold was robbed after it was stopped on a North Korean highway in mid-November, a source has told RFA.

Three masked robbers overcame two armed guards to take the gold worth some U.S.$11 million, the source said.

The robbery occurred as the vehicle was destined for the capital of Pyongyang on National Highway 1 from Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province.

How the armored vehicle was stopped was not apparent in the RFA report published in both Korean and English.

After the robbery, a manhunt for the robbers ensued.

“The recent arrival of an investigation team for state security and safety in the area of Sinuiju has caused a furor,” the source said.

Due to the way the bandits were able to overpower the armed guards quickly, it seems that they received special military training, the source added.

The North Korean authorities have subsequently put all special forces veterans in North Pyongan Province on the list of suspects and interrogated each about their whereabouts on the day of the incident.

However, the whereabouts of the robbers remain unknown.

A source in Ryanggang Province told RFA that “the border of Hyesan City in Ryanggang Province has recently been filled with investigators from the Ministry of Public Safety and Security and Border Command and is in a state of emergency.”

This, the source said, was to “prevent the 200 kilograms of gold looted in a bandit attack on the Sinuiju-Pyongyang National Highway 1 from being smuggled to China through the border”.

Both Sinuiju and Hyesan are border cities separated from China by the Yalu River.

Since there is no gold market in North Korea, the stolen gold is essentially worthless unless it can be smuggled to Chinese buyers.

The source in Ryanggang Province also revealed that the government issued leaflets requesting the public provide information on people possessing gold or inquiring about gold smuggling networks.

North Korean villagers ride bicycles on a bridge, as seen from a boat on the Yalu River, opposite Hekou, in China’s northeast Liaoning Province on Feb. 24, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Office 39 of the Workers’ Party

North Korea produces between two to four tons of gold annually, most of which is sent to Office 39 of the Workers’ Party, one of the sources said.

Office 39 is directly under North Korea’s top leader, Kim Jong-un.

In 2018, a North Korean defector who worked in Office 39 revealed that it was created to source foreign currency for the country’s leaders.

“In North Korea we called it the ‘revolutionary fund,’” the defector told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“We exported whatever we could—gold, jewellery, farming goods—everything we sold to get money for him.”

The defector said North Korean gold was smuggled into China so that it could be sold on the international market under the name of Chinese gold. It was not difficult to circumvent the U.N. sanctions, and the Chinese Communist Party played a central role in the process.