North Korea Declares War On Its Own Mobile Phone Users
It seems the in the mass hysteria over the death of its former leader, the North Korean Government has decided anyone caught using a mobile phone during the 100-day mourning period is declared a war criminal.
The warning was apparently made to try and stop North Korean citizens trying to escape a growing food crisis. Many North Koreans have attempted to cross the border into China, while others have contacted people outside asking for help.
To date around 23,000 people have still managed to get out of the country over the years. So, it is unlikely that the mobile phone ban will deter some determined to escape.
The former leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, died unexpectedly on the 17th December 2011. Since then, the hurried installation of his son Kim Jong-un, together with a mandatory 100 days of official mourning, have taken place.
Anyone wanting to defect from the North Korean dictatorship is more likely to be able to do so via the Chinese border rather than the South Korean border. The latter is very heavily guarded.
Some analysts think that the death of Kim Jong-il may also cause civil unrest in the impoverished nation. The elevation of his son has caused some instability in the country, hence the new dictum over mobile phones, which are seen as too much of a link to the outside world.
Further, if there is discontent then the government fears that anyone using their mobile phone during this sensitive time may exacerbate an already fragile situation.