20 Everyday Activities That Will Get You Arrested In North Korea
When it comes to modern-day countries, no country is so mysterious and mythical as North Korea is. Actually, this is a country with the top secretive regime in the world. It’s so secretive that we don’t know how people live there.
But, thanks to rising tourists and journalists in North Korea we have a glimpse of how people actually live there. However, there are a few things that are forbidden, both for foreigners and locals. So, if you want to visit this country, you should browse through this list – or you could spend years behind bars.
1. Making International Phone Calls
If you ever heard about this one and you were not sure if it’s true or not, have doubts no more – this one is true. If you decide to go against this ban you can expect the death penalty.
If you make an international call from North Korea you can actually be punished by death. People have been killed for calling relatives in South Korea.
2. Owning An iPhone
People don’t care about the latest iPhone in North Korea. Actually, if they had one they would probably be punished. This ban doesn’t stop here.
Owning an android, PC, or tablet is forbidden as well. Basically, any electronic from the West is forbidden and extremely punishable.
3. Taking Down A Propaganda Poster
Propaganda posters are a major thing in North Korea. They are seen everywhere and everyone treats them with respect. There is a good reason for that respect.
US student Otto Warmbier was one of the few who ever tried to take one of the posters home. He was arrested immediately and sentenced for decades of hard labor.
4. Don’t Call It North Korea
Government communicates one message with its people all the time – there is one true Korea and not North Korea.
So, when within the borders of North Korea, call it ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’. After all, better safe than sorry.
5. It Is Almost Impossible To Buy A Car
The air is clear in North Korea, and the biggest reason for it lies in the fact that there is less than one car per 1,000 people. So, if you own a car there, you are rich and powerful.
The average car price is 40,000 USD. Surprisingly, a bicycle is not quite affordable as well. Moreover, this is how they keep people from moving. In addition, all bicycles have license plates.
6. Not Loving The Leader
In most free countries you can say whatever you want about the government. In addition, you can shame them if they don’t do a good job. However, in North Korea, that’s not the case.
Long story short, you shouldn’t say anything bad about the President. Ever. If you do so, you will be sent to ‘re-education’ camp.
7. There Are No ‘Happy Hours’
Having a nightcap or any cap that includes alcohol is forbidden in North Korea and heavily punishable. It’s simply a big no-no unless the government allows you to.
North Koreans are serious about this rule. Moreover, back in 2012, a military officer was executed for drinking during the 100-day mourning of Kim Jong II. He was executed with a mortar.
8. You Can’t Leave The Country
Having a passport is not a big deal actually, as it has no purpose. Citizens of North Korea can not explore the world freely.
If North Korean citizens try to leave the country and they are caught, they will probably be executed. In addition, their family could be punished as well.
In most western countries watching pornography or possessing pornography material is not a crime. But, thats not the case with North Korea.
Pornography can get you killed in North Korea. It actually killed Kim Jong Un ex-girlfriend. She made a sex tape and therefore she was executed in front of her family.
10. Using The Internet
They have internet, but it’s not the internet as it’s known to us. They can use only state-sponsored sites and their internet is actually an intranet called ‘Kwangmyong.’
You need to be high-ranker to access international websites. Interestingly, the local operating system ‘Red Star’ has its latest version of MacOS X because of Kim Jong-un’s fondness for Apple products.
11. Blue Jeans Are Not OK In North Korea
If you can afford to buy denim you can wear it, but it has to be black. Blue jeans are prohibited. Basically, blues jeans are associated with America and western values.
If you are a tourist wearing blue jeans, you are safe, and no one will say a word to you. However, you’ll have to change them when visiting the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il memorial.
12. Escaping Prison
Although this is illegal in every country, in North Korea you are putting your entire family into a dangerous situation. Simply said, generations will suffer because of you.
So, if you escape prison, your entire family would be punished up to four generations. Basically, it means that your crime would get your kids, parents, and even grandparents killed.
13. Making Mistakes At Job
Fail-and-learn culture is not nourished in North Korea and even the smallest mistake at work can lead to fatal outcomes. Regardless of your job position.
The most recent and most shocking case was when a journalist was executed because he made a typo in an article.
14. Foreigners Can’t Use Local Currency
North Koreans are maybe not huge fans of western and neighbor influence, but they are more than open to foreign currency. As a foreigner, you can’t use local currency.
In local shops for foreigners you can pay with yuans, South Korean wons, euros, and even US dollars. But, you can’t enter local shops or buy anything from the shops for local Koreans.
15. You Can’t Buy Real Estate In North Korea
Apartments are not officially for sale in North Korea. They are distributed by the government, and one can’t simply move from the countryside to Pyongyang. This has to be honored.
But, on the black market, an apartment can be purchased for 70,000-90,000 USD. Refugees claim that the official salary is 4 USD per month. So, you do the math.
16. There Are No Hot Showers
North Korea is not known for having a hot water supply. So, people don’t have showers, so they visit baths. Also, there is no central heating, so people warm the house with furnaces which work with wood.
Some might say that other Asian countries don’t have central heating either. However, in those countries, they can use electric heaters. In North Korea, they still have problems with electricity.
17. No Coca-Cola In The Shops
Back in 2015, Coca-Cola was forbidden only in two countries in the world: Cuba and North Korea. Cuba opened its door to this sugary drink, leaving North Korea all alone.
There are few products that represent the western culture and Coca-Cola is one of them. Therefore, it is definitely forbidden. Normally, for ideological reasons.
18. You Can’t Ask About Kim Jong-un’s Birthday
Until today, no one actually knows how old Kim Jong-un is. Kim doesn’t want people to know that. According to him, that’s nobody’s business. So, don’t ask how old is and when his birthday is.
There are three different dates. Locals claim that he was born on January 8, 1982. South Korea says it was a year later. According to the States, he was born on January 8, 1984. What’s the truth? Nobody knows.
19. It is Almost Impossible To Buy Condoms Or Feminine Hygiene Products
This may be shocking, but most Koreans don’t even know that condoms exist. They appeared on a black market a few decades ago, but they didn’t last long. People didn’t know what to do with them? So, there is no demand and condoms can’t be bought nowadays.
In addition, tampons are also hard to be seen. At least in shops for locals. So, Korean woman still use regular fabric, which they wash and reuse.
20. There Is No Such Thing As A Unique Haircut
Having a unique haircut is mission impossible in North Korea. So, if you want a modern and fresh hair-style you can forget it. Believe it or not, all styles and haircuts must be government approved.
Some may think that you don’t have a choice on this saying, but there are actually 28 different haircuts and hairstyles that you can choose from, both for women and men.