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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
N Korea rocked by bank heist
Kim Jong-il
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il was immediately informed
A small-time bank robbery does not make headline news in many parts of the world.

But when three armed robbers held up a bank in secretive North Korea last month, the incident was said to be unprecedented in the country's history.

The full force of North Korean officialdom appears to have united in search of the culprits.

Immediately after the incident, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il himself issued an order to "unconditionally arrest the criminals", according to a senior North Korean official currently in China.

The authorities are said to have distributed wanted posters throughout the country.

The Ministry of People's Security and the State Security Department have also fully mobilised in the hunt for the criminals.

Security forces defending the border areas are on special guard duty to prevent the robbers from escaping.

Accurate and up-to-date information is notoriously difficult to obtain from communist North Korea.

The bank robbery has only now come to light - in an article in the South Korean newspaper Choson Ilbo - although the incident happened in August.

The three robbers are said to have entered the Foreign Trade Bank of Korea in the middle of the day, forcing bank employees to lie on the floor while they stole approximately $40,000 from the vault.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: North Korea
01 Aug 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: North Korea
27 Aug 03  |  Country profiles



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