Korea: November 12, 2004


The United States is spending two million dollars a year to smuggle small radios into North Korea. Some private groups have already been doing this for several years, despite efforts by the South Korean government to stop this sort of thing (because North Korea insists that its citizens only listen to government radio stations, which North Korean radios are configured to receive exclusively). South Korea is trying to make nice with the North Koreans in an effort to avoid war and make eventual reunification less painful. While the penalties for getting caught with a "foreign radio" are severe, corruption has become so pervasive in the north that radios capable of receiving South Korean stations are a hot commodity. Police will seize them if they find them, without punishing (much) those who had the radio. The cops will then use the radio themselves, or sell it on the growing black market. 


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