Radio Free Asia reports that according to North Korean sources, project managers under extreme pressure to complete work at a major construction site in Pyongyang are supplying workers with methamphetamines so they will work faster.
The project in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, consists of a 70-story skyscraper and 60 apartment blocks. In a symbolic rebuke of international sanctions imposed for nuclear weapons tests, North Korea is forging ahead with the massive construction scheme, drafting thousands of city residents to labor on the project till late at night under harsh conditions, sources said in earlier reports.
Evidence of the drug pushing was found in writings on July 27 in an unfinished building. “Investigators are warning construction workers that they will be severely punished for further incidents of this kind,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Kim Jong-un government wants the buildings finished to somehow prove North Korean is a developed country.
Phil Robertson, Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said: “It’s going to be hard to verify that this is happening, but if it is confirmed then we utterly condemned it.
North Korea has been producing meth since the 70s, when it was first sold as medicine. Methamphetamine is said to be produced by underpaid chemists in state-run facilities in North Korea. The drug is sold both domestically and internationally as a source of revenue for the isolated state.