5 Takeaways From Investigating Covert Oil Deliveries to North Korea

We uncovered how one ship helped North Korea get oil despite sanctions. Here are five takeaways from the investigation.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/22/world/winson-north-korea-oil-tankers.html
North Korea continues to illicitly import oil, in violation of strict international sanctions. The New York Times Visual Investigations team and Times reporters across Asia spent six months tracking several of the tankers involved in some of these covert oil transfers, unraveling a murky corporate network that connects to a Singapore-headquartered major oil trader called the Winson Group.

The Mystery of the Missing North Korean Social Media Star

Her life in South Korea seemed perfect: new friends, a burgeoning career, reality-TV fame. But she was about to become notorious—disappearing without a trace, only to reappear pledging allegiance to North Korea. What happened to Lim Ji-hyun?

Link: https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a35365775/lim-ji-hyun-north-korean-defector/
Lim has not been seen since. As of press time, South Korean authorities are still trying to get to the bottom of her case. Seoul police spokesman Park Tae-joon says that despite Lim’s denials in the propaganda films, they firmly believe she was coerced into returning. “Our intelligence suggests Ms. Lim was tricked into going on a trip to China so North Korean government agents could kidnap her and take her back across the border,” says Park. “Ms. Lim was told that a large sum of money, around $10,000, that she had tried to send home to her parents through a Chinese middleman had gone missing. She hurried to China to retrieve it, but we think it was a trap.”

The Price of Freedom

Christina Kim risked everything to escape North Korea’s entrenched gender violence. She almost didn’t make it.

Link: https://www.guernicamag.com/the-price-of-freedom/
Each morning, when the adults went to work for the regime, the children stayed home, warmed by coal. One day, a house nearby caught fire, with a boy inside. Kim watched the father race into the house and emerge with his most valuable possessions: a portrait of then-Supreme Leader Kim Il-Sung and another of his first wife, Kim Jong-Suk. The child never came out.

The Underground Movement Trying to Topple the North Korean Regime

Adrian Hong says he leads a group of “freedom fighters” conducting a revolution. Has the U.S. already betrayed them?

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/23/the-underground-movement-trying-to-topple-the-north-korean-regime
On the afternoon of February 22, 2019, a tall Asian man rang the doorbell of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid. His business card identified him as Matthew Chao, an investor from Baron Stone Capital, with offices in Toronto and Dubai. Once he was allowed in, nine men in their twenties and thirties, carrying pellet guns, knives, and metal bars, entered. They covered their faces with black balaclavas, tied up four staffers with zip ties and handcuffs, and herded them into a meeting room, before taking a senior Embassy official to the basement. His wife and his eight-year-old son were put in a room on the first floor.