N Korea diversifies drug smuggling, counterfeiting, study says

N Korea diversifies drug smuggling, counterfeiting, study says

The ruling family despots of North Korea, always desperate for hard currency to finance their lifestyle and loyalties, are now funneling increasing amounts of drugs, counterfeit goods and currency, as well as legitimate trade, through China, according to a study released last week that is sponsored by  a committee that monitors the country’s boggling human rights abuses.

As part of the change, blatant government-sponsored criminal activity appears to be shrinking in comparison to a combination of “quasi-private production and crony capitalism” focused largely on its expanding relationship with the Middle East, Africa and especially China — but still backed by the full brutality of the regime, according to the report from the Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, a bipartisan group based in Washington.

In the process, the regime now dominated by third-generation dictator Kim Jong-Un  is increasingly making its drug smuggling and other illegal activities harder to detect, as well as turning to a broad array of more legitimate ways to bring in the cash, especially an increase in trade with its huge neighbor.

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