TOKYO--North Korea is cracking down on the use of mobile phones in border areas in a bid to stop smuggling and "spy activities," Japan's Kyodo news agency said on Monday.
Citing a document obtained by a Japanese non-governmental organization, Kyodo said Pyongyang had defined political textbooks and state-determined price lists for everyday goods as contraband, alongside rare metals and agricultural produce.
Transmission of confidential information, providing information about the whereabouts of people, or assisting in the delivery of letters to foreigners are defined as spy activities in the document, Kyodo said.
"Some residents have contacts with people in neighboring countries by hiding mobile phones in places with good reception, such as tall buildings and on hilltops," Kyodo quoted the document as saying. The document also refers to the need to crack down on illegal use of mobile phones, Kyodo said.
Entitled "Let's unfold the fight to eradicate smuggling," the document is thought to have been compiled for educational purposes by a committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2003, Kyodo said.
The non-governmental organization, Rescue the North Korean People Urgent Action Network (RENK), photographed the document in North Korea in October this year. RENK is a Japan-based organization that seeks to help North Korean asylum seekers.
"In North Korea, there are even businesses that provide contact with people overseas by mobile phone," Kyodo quoted Lee Young Hwa, a representative of the NGO, as saying.
"In addition to smuggling, mobile phones have become a weapon in antigovernment activities," he added.
No one at RENK could be contacted for comment.
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