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Cannibalism in North Korea

What if it wasn't just a rumor? A leaked official document raises concern.
North korea food truck 2011 06 22Enlarge
A customer reads the menu on the "Pyongyang Express" food truck in Los Angeles, Calif., July 16, 2010. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Editor's note: Read the latest news on this topic.

Just when you thought North Korea couldn't get any more disturbing.

A leaked official police document reportedly details at least one case of cannibalism.

Photos: Daily life in Pyongyang

If true, the report would validate what has been rumored in the North for quite some time: that people are so hungry they are eating other people.

According to the Korea Herald:

"The report, later obtained by South Korea's Caleb Mission, provided a rare look into the alleged cannibalism and other crimes, but it did not say whether cannibalism has become a widespread practice.

In one account, a male guard who could not bear his hunger killed his colleague using an ax, ate some of the human flesh and sold the remainder in the market by disguising it as mutton, the report said, without giving any further details such as when the alleged crime occurred."

The confidential, 791-page document, called a "Manual for workers in law enforcement," chronicles 721 criminal cases. The majority of cases involved food.

Five of the cases, according to the International Business Times, involved cannibalism.

While there is some doubt as to the veracity of everything described in the report, its official nature leads experts to believe most of its contents can be taken as fact.

“I have been studying North Korean laws for the last forty years and have never seen anything like this inner document of the North Korean law enforcement unit,” said Jang Myung-bong, a specialist in North Korean laws.

“It is a very critical resource in which we can take a peek on important changes of North Korean law and vividly depict the real life within the society.”

There can be no doubt that much of North Korea is hungry. But a recent report suggests the famine may not be widespread.

Read More: North Korea isn't alone: 6 infamous cases of cannibalism

The findings of a U.S. team led by Robert King, U.S. special envoy on North Korean human rights, apparently say that there isn't a full-blown crisis, though some parts of the country are experiencing drastic shortages, according to the South Korean publication, Dong-a Ilbo.

Based on this assessment, Washington is likely to recommend that food assistance is necessary for certain regions in the North where food is in particularly short supply.

But those places in need, according to the North Korean report of cannibalism, are perhaps worse off than anyone thought.

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Ciara More than 1 year ago
Feed Americans first, then feed other countries. Plain and simple.
adegiulio More than 1 year ago
American's have plenty to eat. We're the fattest nation on earth. There's no reason why we shouldn't help these people in need.
Joe Bloe More than 1 year ago
that NK government would sell off any food sources -- or keep them for their own overweight political leaders -- than give the subsidized food/medicine/money to the people. That is why they are in the state they are in. Notice, they are sending missles into the stratosphere in the direction of the USA....They have money. They maintain power by keeping their people weak and at death's door.
Pepper Pete More than 1 year ago
prepare food for them while they prepare to nuke us. That makes prefect sense.
Mike Mitchell More than 1 year ago
Do you make dumb commets like this often?`
not perfect More than 1 year ago
do you?
Donna More than 1 year ago
you cannot help people when their governments are so corrupt. the only reason they are hungry is because of their corrupt governments. and that is true for every country in the world with these kinds of problems. The parts of the world with good governments are always ready and able to help those less fortunate, but their corrupt governments will simply keep all the donations for their own greedy selves. so i say, help the people in our own country. I thought one of the purposes of the United Nations was to stop these kinds of injustices in the world. well, the UN is just as corrupt as those greedy, corrupt leaders in North Korea.,
The Wanderer More than 1 year ago
Not all Americans are fat and not all Americans have enough food to eat. Until there is not a man, woman, or child in the US going hungry...let the other countries starve!
Gary More than 1 year ago
How about the leadership in that country constantly threatens us with a Nuclear attack. Has one of the largest per capita army's in the world. The leadership in N Korea is corrupt to the core, as may leaderships in other country's are.
Gary More than 1 year ago
You don't help your enemy to become stronger so he can Kill you. Is N Korea Our friend? NO!
Gary More than 1 year ago
Do you frequently help people who holds a gun to your family's head? That's what that country does.
Stankonia Roberts More than 1 year ago
You don't understand: there is really no food shortage. The world has enough food to provide to people. The problem is getting food to those in need. In every country where there is famine, volunteers who have tried to bring food to people have been cut off at the impasse by governments or factions who have taken over.
163bella More than 1 year ago
I agree!
William Zollicoffer More than 1 year ago
'Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it only to the Americans. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. The twelve baskets were later cast into the sea, for they were too high in carbs, and Jesus was watching his figure.' - Luke 9:16-17 The New Gospel of Supply Side Jesus
Bonehead More than 1 year ago
Communism is a wicked, evil, unjust system of controlling the people. Why does America's progressive left, lead by Obama, want to move the U.S. toward this abject failure of economic justice? My belief is that they believe they are smarter than those who have failed before them. Egomania does not make you smarter.
jerry More than 1 year ago
Tell that to Barack.
BelowRadar More than 1 year ago
It is totalarism, not communism. Get your idealogies correct before you spout your paranoia.
abomb More than 1 year ago
And I'd say learn how to spell before you comment. It's totalitarianism FYI, and no, that's not what Obama is all about, you are very wrong. But it's hard to explain that to someone who most likely voted for him. I bet you'd comment the same things about "paranoia" if you lived in North Korea too right?
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
I'm no fan of Obama, but if you can't tell the difference between North Korea's communist regime and Obama's socialism, then you probably shouldn't be posting until you read up on the differences.
Gary More than 1 year ago
Obama smiles more.
Daniel and Samantha More than 1 year ago
America has tried to help them and the N. Korean gov't has stashed the goods and refused to help their people. "Shame on you for fooling me once. Shame on me for fooling me twice."
no issue More than 1 year ago
The people are starving and the leaders are fat, dumb and lazy.
Kat More than 1 year ago
You try to stage a rebellion when you're dying of starvation and the only people who have guns are an evil government. I feel so bad for these citizens. We should always have compassion for the starving and oppressed.
codename_wolverine More than 1 year ago
Look how well communisim is working for North Korea. A modle country i say!
LAUGHING OUT LOUD More than 1 year ago
Now we're going to supply them food? America is going bankrupt, we don't have money for our own people & we are still giving it away to our enemies.
Nick Derby More than 1 year ago
oh boy another way to ruin our nation.....
silent999 More than 1 year ago
WHy is american going bankrupt? Think about what you are saying. Money has no real value. It all depends on what people pay for it. The US can print its own money and the US dollar is the world currency. When that changes and people no longer want dollars, thats when the real problem will start. That's years away.
trevor More than 1 year ago
actually your wrong Silent. Currency is backed by gold. If you print more money then you are decreasing the value of cash.
George More than 1 year ago
backed by gold? you honestly believe exactly what they want you to believe...there is no gold they can print out whatever they want.. that whole printing more decreases value is complete bs...look into that if you dont believe me
Robin Hong More than 1 year ago
Actually it does decrease value, if you know your history, read up on what happened to Germany after World War 1.
JDS More than 1 year ago
You're an idiot George......
Gary More than 1 year ago
How about you look up the valmar republic (weimar) a little story about Pre nazi German and how hyper inflation occurred almost overnight. Bread that cost 1 -2 marks cost a million in just a couple years.
JDS More than 1 year ago
Trevor, You're correct, but you're trying to reason with idiots who obviously never took Macro Economics 101......Good luck....
Gary More than 1 year ago
Your clueless. The US Dollar is losing value daily. Gas and food have doubled since Obama took office. Wages have gone down. 52% of america is now on food stamps.That's because we print too much of it. We Borrow money from other country's like China and Japan and promise to pay it back. 16.5 TRILLION so far. that's 12 zeros. Counting to One trillion out loud would take lifetimes.
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
America throws away enough food each year to feed 200 million people.
Steve More than 1 year ago
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
There are innocent people there starving. They can't help it that their government runs by ridiculous communism that likes to threaten the rest of the world. IMAGINE if you were born in North Korea. Have some compassion.
163bella More than 1 year ago
It is time to take care of the United States!!
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
You seem to indicate that we can't help starving people *and* take care of people in the United States. That's ridiculous. We can do both. The United States alone throws away enough food to feed 200 million people each year.
Brian More than 1 year ago
What!! another example of Communism failing and a "evil capitalistic Government" sending them food?? When in history has that ever happened..
John Brown More than 1 year ago
So that's why Kim Jung Un is so FAT.
Fen Gregersen More than 1 year ago
They don't need food aid, they need to overthrow their ridiculous government. Maybe if they starve for a while, they'll finally get up the nerve to throw that dynasty of insane cartoon villains out of office and start on the path to rejoining the rest of the world. Feeding them only acts as a steam valve on a pressure cooker. Keep the pressure on! North Korea needs to change and the NK people themselves have to be the ones to do it.
Jane Bond More than 1 year ago
my god we have plenty and mexico has even fly over food drops everyday telmex...god bless.
Sharon More than 1 year ago
The story is probably not true anyway. Why should we feed them when they want to nuke us. So sad too bad. Take care of our own first.
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
Yeah Sharon it's "probably not true." They really slaughter dogs & cats & steal people's pets to eat, like their neighbor south korea.
Susan Swanson More than 1 year ago
yIkes, sad.
Mykael IRIE!!! The Blessed Beggar Prince of Ladera More than 1 year ago
PROVERBS 25:21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
Bobbi Cada More than 1 year ago
yeah, there is also a saying 'teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime".......or something like that.
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
We can't "teach men to fish" if their leadership doesn't allow it. But that's no reason for us to do nothing at all. The best we can do is find ways to work with N.Korea and their allies in order to distribute food to the civilians.
Gary More than 1 year ago
You don't hand a Man a Gun when he's trying to gut you with a Knife.
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
And which North Korean children are trying to gut you with a knife?
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
You are so idealistic, Christy Marie. A true bleeding heart liberal.
Gary More than 1 year ago
Korea bakes cakes ..unfortunately is radioactive cake used for nukes.
Godwin Albanese More than 1 year ago
my friend's step-aunt makes $89 every hour on the internet. She has been without a job for nine months but last month her paycheck was $21102 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here's the site to read more FAB33.COM
Jenny Watzke More than 1 year ago
Ronald More than 1 year ago
We have enough worries that we need to deal in America and leave it to bogus politicians to deal with that issue while they need to help us in Untied States. Nothing much we can do with mindset communist party, leave them be and let him have his conciseness if he have any heart. Yes, he's mean but who taught him? Blood line!
vastc More than 1 year ago
Hmm, I dont know if I believe this. Can people in North Korea believe everything they read on the internet?
Gary More than 1 year ago
Our country is in debt 16.5 trillion dollars, Yet we give away billions like its nothing. we now borrow money we no longer have at home. Japan, China are no longer giving more.we are now printing more money out of thin air. every dollar thats made devalues existing money. Obama is pushing to borrow more from the FED.. a bank cartel who is not a part of the US Government. once it gets past a certain point it will become worthless and starvation can come to America too. N Korea can happen to America.
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
Individual citizens like you and I can give to NGOs and private charities that have a track record of helping feed North Korean children.
Sioux0624 More than 1 year ago
Why would Obama want to use our money on a foreign country to keep their children from being killed and eaten, when he gives enormous amounts to Planned Parenthood and other institutions to abort and kill our own children?
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
Google the article 'Rotarians help feed North Korean children'. 273,000 meals were provided. You see? We can make a difference in the lives of those children, whose only fault was being born in the wrong country.
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
That's called karma or HELL is a place on earth known as korea.
GeeWizFolks! More than 1 year ago
"Catch-22" for U.S.? Do "our" Christian thing and help feed North Koreans while their government keeps working on nuclear(?) weapons aimed at us; OR don't be good Christians and let the people starve at the hand of their own government who clearly is spending LOTS O MONEY (which it CLEALY HAS) on fancy updated missiles many of which are aimed at us? WHAT would Jesus, Gandhi, the Dali Lama(?), Amma, Dr. King,Jr, Mother Teresa, et al, do? Hmmm.
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
Christianity & religion in general has done enough harm in the history of humanity. That's one reason why these godless countries won't allow it.
Hawaiiankine66 More than 1 year ago
I like Korean BBQ Ribs, but this is ridiculous.
cyberslammer More than 1 year ago
They said they were rearry rearry hurungree.
CHAZZX More than 1 year ago
Nuclear bombs and rockets to send the U.S.A. Let the North Korean eat themselves !
Teach More than 1 year ago
Send them some turnips.
Marcos More than 1 year ago
Grey Poupon Comrade?
Pepper Pete More than 1 year ago
There starving look at there leader aka mister hog jowls
Marcos More than 1 year ago
learny inglish
Joseph More than 1 year ago
Mark Raepsaet More than 1 year ago
ak_lumps More than 1 year ago
John Wayne Gacy was hungry, too.
Tyler Simons More than 1 year ago
He didn't eat people. Learn your facts.
Just me More than 1 year ago
Umm do you mean Jeffery Dahmer?
Malum Sandersa More than 1 year ago
Dahlmer, Geans, and a whole slu of other peope have toasted meals chalked full of human meat. I find it odd though, that they only show five cases of cannabialism. I imagine the rate is much higher, if you go to places not very well policed.
jerry More than 1 year ago
Ed Gein, psycho.
Lisa Runnels More than 1 year ago
Marcos More than 1 year ago
only fools care what fools 5k years ago thought...
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
Only a FOOL like you Marcos is too ignorant to understand the messages in what happened 5k ago. THOSE WHO FORGET THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
Where does it state that?
Jonathan Ago More than 1 year ago
it also says in the bible, not even the angels in heaven know when the lady day will actually happen.
NerissaD More than 1 year ago
I am sick to see people's comments who are saying why help them? send over the immigrants to feed them! You people are DISCUSTING!! Are you seriously that selfish and full of yourself that you don't realize what you just read? People are SUFFERING RIGHT NOW. This is not make believe. This is what someone is going through right this minute and all you do is laugh. You are sick...
The Wanderer More than 1 year ago
People are suffering from hunger in the US as well. Take are of our own FIRST!
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
People who are suffering from hunger in the U.S. are not suffering because we don't have enough food for them--food security isn't the issue. What we CAN do is change bureaucracy so people can have easier access to food here WHILE helping people who are actually starving to death.(hint: they're not in the U.S.)
Larissa Rogers More than 1 year ago
And I bet you voted for obama, too, huh?
Bobbi Cada More than 1 year ago
Did you ever here of putting on your own oxygen mask, before helping the person in the seat next to you? We got enough problems over here and we help enough people. I do not know what part of even if we did send help over there, the people would not get it anyway, because of the corrupt government taking it.
JOSHUA More than 1 year ago
let me get this straight....were their sworn enimy and they want to nuke us.... and yet we still give them food when we have an outragous national debt and cant even take care of our own hungry and poor in this country.... W.T.F. are we thinking.
Kurt More than 1 year ago
If the food went to the people, I would have no problem with that. It's the government that wants to nuke us not necessarily the citizens within.
David More than 1 year ago
well you don't actually seem to have this straight so let me give you a hand. people in control of the government consider the US to be a sworn enemy, but the starving people that are resorting to cannibalism very likely don't care about us at all because they have much more pressing concerns. and while we have an outrageous national debt and people that are hungry here, absolutely nobody needs to resort to eating other people, much less at rates so significant that the government needs to address this as a serious concern. we are supposed to be a civilized nation. charity to those that are so hungry they are debased to animal levels is one of those things a civilized nation provides. their people aren't our enemy.
george More than 1 year ago
nuke them, i know they like barbecue.
MyVoice More than 1 year ago
Wow talk about your nukes for feed the people program they really did mean it will that be with or without msg
Sandra Thompson More than 1 year ago
for crying out load,if you were starving would you fight the gov? you can't help those wHo won't help themselves,and we need to stop trying to save the world and save ourselves.its stupid to borrow money from china to feed n.KOREA.,THERE CHINA'S BUDDY,LET CHINA FEED THEM
Stinky Pete More than 1 year ago
That was my 1'st point, but isn't N. Korean's running some Nukeuler testing aimed at the U.S. ? & because we owe so much money to China, shouldn't they shoulder this one ?
RodgerM More than 1 year ago
population control
Christy Marie More than 1 year ago
It's funny how people who advocate population control believe that they are more entitled to populate the earth than others..
Here Is SomeHate4U More than 1 year ago
No more Oriental Buffet restaurants for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kenneth R More than 1 year ago
Cannibals ! If they want to nuke us, and expect the US to supply food, Maybe we should deport all ILLEGALS to them, instead of food supplies.
Perrin Aybara More than 1 year ago
I bet it tasted like dog !
jerry More than 1 year ago
John Brown More than 1 year ago
Soylant Green.