North Korean prison camps are amongst the most notorious in the world. They house gas chambers and chemical experiments, and prisoners are incarcerated just for being related to other prisoners.
Now, in new analysis of updated Google Earth satellite images, a blogger by the name of Curtis Melvin, who publishes North Korean Economy Watch has identified what appears to be another of North Korea’s notorious prison camps.
The camp can’t be confirmed but it exists alongside prison Camp 14, sharing 3km of fencing, and near the disused Camp 18.
It has a “striking similarity” to existing camps and a visible security fence, and Melvin thinks the area may even be an extension of Camp 14, a new camp, or a new type of facility altogether.
It would have been constructed some time between December 2006 and September 2011, and Melvin identified what appear to be guard posts, staff entrance, residential units and even an abandoned coal mine.
Reports the Guardian:
The brutality of North Korea’s prison camps was revealed last year in a book by defector Shin Dong-hyuk, who worked with former Washington Post reporter Blaine Harden to tell of his experience since birth in Camp 14.
North Korea’s camps are estimated to hold as many as 200 000 people, many incarcerated because they are related to a previous prisoner, have attempted to make contact outside the country or for “insulting the Kim dynasty”.
Prison camps in the remote and mountainous region of North Korea are the most severe, with reports of gas chambers and chemical experiments, according to Amnesty International.
Shin told of the forced labour in the camps, including a factory sewing military uniforms and dangerous and often fatal work in coal mines. He eventually escaped at 23, and now lives in Seoul, South Korea.
The “Hidden Gulag” report by the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea last month praised Google Earth for its high resolution imagery, which has allowed camps to be identified, monitored and confirmed detailed testimonies from escapees.
There is just so much that the world doesn’t know about North Korea, and earlier this month, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, elicited criticism for his visit to the country. After his visit, he said the country needed to empower its citizens through access to the global Internet – though it remains to be seen whether that will ever happen.
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