Located in Dandong, China

North Korean entity reportedly sold illegal gambling websites to a South Korean cyber crime ring

Reading time 1:22 min

North Korean entity Gyonghung Information Technology, a 15-member group based in Dandong, a Chinese border town neighboring the North's Sinuiju, has allegedly received $5,000 from an unidentified South Korean criminal organization for creating an illegal gambling website and $3,000 per month for maintaining the website, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS).

The company was also suspected of receiving an additional $2,000 to $5,000 if the website gathers a lot of users through bank accounts held by Chinese nationals and the global online payment service PayPal.

The entity was believed to be under the so-called Bureau 39 of the North Korean party in charge of raising and managing leader Kim Jong-un's secret funds, the NIS said as reported by The Korea Times, adding that each member of the organization sent around $500 to the North Korean government every month.

The organization was reportedly led by Kim Kwang-Myong, who was originally an official of the North's Reconnaissance General Bureau, Pyongyang's primary intelligence bureau. The North Korean organization also extorted the personal information of users who accessed the websites it created by planting malicious codes on the websites, according to the NIS.

The South Korean criminal organization was also found to have raised multi-trillion won in profit by using the websites, and an investigation is underway into the criminal ring, the NIS said, as reported by the above-mentioned media.

The NIS acquired photos and video footage related to the North Korean organization's activities, and the materials showed the names and identities of its members and their fake identities as Chinese nationals.

"Dandong emerged as a base for apparel production in China based on the manpower from North Korea, and North Korean IT organizations created to raise dollars blend in among the North Korean workers in the area to illegally earn foreign currencies," the NIS stated.

The NIS said thousands of North Koreans earn money overseas using similar methods. Currently, North Korean nationals cannot work in China, as the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against Pyongyang in 2017 to prevent the North from earning money to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.

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